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J Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Jul;46(7-8):412-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01755.x. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

What do paediatricians think of the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit?

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Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.



To explore clinicians' perceptions of the value, usefulness and limitations of the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) and obtain direct feedback regarding the surveillance mechanism and suggestions for improvement.


Anonymous postal survey of Australian paediatricians (n = 1260) in 2007.


Of 1260 clinicians surveyed 818 (65%) responded, a similar proportion from all states/territories and specialties. Over half had participated in surveillance for >10 years. The majority (95%), believe APSU research is valuable, for generating knowledge (81%), identifying research needs (78%), facilitating collaborative research (75%), supporting education and advocacy (74%), guiding clinical practice (70%), informing future policy (70%) and evaluating current policy (68%). Of 458 respondents who had ever reported a case (90%) had no objection to providing de-identified clinical information; and about 75% said questionnaires were easy to complete; however, one third said clinical information requested was not always readily available. Most (680, 83%) respondents believed their contribution to the APSU was appropriately acknowledged and 20% said they had personally benefited from participation. The majority (90%) were willing to report immediately by email/fax/phone in an epidemiological emergency. Lack of time and resources was the most common limitation to participation identified by clinicians: some suggested on-line reporting would improve the ease and timeliness of reporting. Clinicians also suggested better use of the APSU website to disseminate results.


Clinicians acknowledged the APSU as valuable. Improving communication with clinicians, ensuring that information requested in questionnaires is relevant and available, and developing a secure web-based reporting system are future APSU priorities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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