Clinician Connect

Evidence informs COVID response

30 Oct 2020 Reading time approximately

The COVID-19 Critical Intelligence Unit (CIU) is providing rapid, evidence-based advice to support and inform decision making across the NSW health sector.

Established in March and led by ACI’s Chief Executive, Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque, the CIU has a core staff drawn from the ACI’s Evidence Generation and Dissemination directorate, supported by expertise from across the Ministry of Health, pillars and local health districts.

The work of the CIU is informed by:

  • the emerging evidence base in peer reviewed and grey literature
  • data and analyses drawn from specialised repositories across the system
  • expert guidance and insights from clinicians, consumers and policy makers
  • participation in national and international groups and committees, including COVID-END, an international consortium of experts in evidence synthesis.

The CIU produces a range of evidence-based resources about COVID-19:

  • Incident controller daily reports bring together data and insights on public health, system operations and critical inputs.
  • Daily digests summarise recently published evidence or guidance relevant to COVID-19. Currently, around 670 people are subscribed.
  • Evidence checks provide an overview of available evidence on a discrete topic, covering epidemiology and transmission, symptoms and treatment, clinical models of care and system capacity and evaluation.
  • Risk-monitoring dashboards provide a weekly snapshot of the risk of local transmission, effectiveness of the public health response and transmission in healthcare-settings
Since 26 March, the COVID-19 Critical Intelligence Unit has produced *


incident controller daily reports


evidence checks


editions of the Daily Digest


risk monitoring dashboards

* Figures are to 15 October 2020.

Evidence to practice

CIU evidence checks are provided to COVID-19 clinical communities of practice to inform the development of advice to the healthcare system. These have been an important foundation for clinical judgements and a source of reassurance regarding awareness of available information. For example, evidence has informed the development of dynamic simulation models to inform complex decisions around intensive care capacity and planning. Evidence has also improved the management of personal protective equipment and supported the rapid expansion of virtual care.

Measuring the indirect impact of COVID-19

The CIU is leading a project to assess indirect impacts of COVID-19 on the healthcare system, consumers and communities in NSW. It is investigating short-, medium- and long-term effects of deferred and skipped healthcare on different patient and consumer groups in NSW.

A crowdsourcing approach was used to gather examples of indirect impacts of COVID-19 from 132 NSW Health staff. Additionally, 45 healthcare consumers and community members shared their experiences and perspectives of the indirect impacts on patients, their families and carers, and the wider community.

Drawing insights from data

The CIU has a data intelligence function which operates in partnership with eHealth. This function can respond rapidly to data requests, integrating data from across the system to answer key questions from senior decision makers.

Learn more

If you have any questions or would like to contact the CIU, email

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