IMgateway, owned and developed by UnityHealth, contains evidence-based, peer-reviewed information on integrative medicine for Health Care Professionals. Over 3,000 pages of scientific content on integrative medicine has been collected and summarised into clear, concise monographs. Included are approximately 350 conditions, 300 herbs, 250 supplements, drugs and nutrient depletions. There are currently over 1,450 complementary medicine interaction monographs and 150 patient information sheets, derived from the same science. Regular weekly news articles are published regarding complementary medicine research.
Members of the editorial team periodically review the overall approach and consider specific elements of the Reference database which includes herbs, supplements and condition monographs. The focus of these meetings is on the scope, content and relevance of the monographs and the way the data is presented and discussed. The editorial team also considers their response to any feedback received on the database.
The editors of the IMgateway Reference Database systematically review research from around the world. Sources include agencies and government sites (TGA, EMA /ESCOP, DHS, NIH, and FDA); academic research sites (EurekAlert, MedNews); journals (JAMA, NEJM, Lancet, JIM, AIMED); research databases (PubMed, Science Direct, Medline, EMBASE); and numerous information feeds from CAM research centres and other organisations.
From these sources, thousands of articles have been analysed and evaluated to create, or update, the herb, supplement and condition monographs.
Research selected provides relevant information on safety, effectiveness, clinical usage, mechanism of action or pharmacology, interactions with drugs, or other practice information that is relevant to health professionals. Where available, preference is given to Meta-Analyses, Systematic Reviews and Randomised Controlled Trials.
Monographs are then drafted according to a standard format, with inclusion and updates to citations and web-link references. Draft monographs are then submitted for editorial review and approval by a senior member of the team.
The process of review focuses on the nature and quality of the evidence as well as clinical relevance. Referenced studies within newly developed monographs are checked to ensure they have been correctly cited.
When required; the Consumer Advocate creates a new or modifies an existing patient information sheet, derived from the approved healthcare professional monograph. In the event the professional version of the monograph does not exist, the Consumer Advocate carries out an extensive literature search to identify new clinical studies to create the respective herb, supplement or condition monograph.
A long-term partnership is in place with the University of Sydney, School of Pharmacy and NICM Health Research Institute (NICM HRI) at Western Sydney University; for ongoing updates of the safety data available on the IMgateway website. This partnership includes the joint development of an Australian first, herb/supplement/food-drug interactions database. UnityHealth is committed to expanding the coverage of complementary medicines and drugs researched on these databases to ensure that practitioners access the latest and most up to date information available.
The Western herbs/supplements/food-drug interactions Database continues to expand, and now includes over 1,450 interactions. The Chinese herb-drug interactions database currently houses 110 interactions and will continue to be developed over the coming years.
Each interaction monograph contains specific advice on the evidence supporting the interaction, a commentary on the clinical significance of potential interactions and recommended advice for consumers receiving the combination.
Professor Andrew McLachlan (University of Sydney, School of Pharmacy), Dr Joanna Harnett (University of Sydney), Professor Basil Roufogalis (University of Sydney, School of Medicine), Bhagwant Sekhon (Researcher, University of Sydney), Miriam Ronagh (Dietitian & Nutritionist and Senior Consultant in Complementary Medicine).
Professor Alan Bensoussan (Former Director of the NICM HRI), Professor Chun Guang Li (Research Director of NICM HRI), Dr Phoebe Zhou (Postdoc Researcher, pharmacology and natural products, NICM HRI).
Internal Review Panel - Dr Deep Bhuyan (Postdoc Researcher, Pharmacology and Natural products, NICM HRI), Dr Mitchell Low (Postdoc Researcher, Pharmacology and Natural products, NICM HRI), Dr Emily Yang (Postdoc Researcher, Chinese Medicine Prevention in Chronic Diseases, Healthy Aging, NICM HRI).
External Reviewer - Associate Professor Kylie O'Brien (Director of Satori Medicine and Adjunct Professor at NICM).
Members of the editorial team periodically review the overall approach as well as consider specific elements of the interaction database. The focus of these meetings is on the scope, content and relevance of the monographs and the manner in which the data is presented and discussed. At these meetings, the editorial team also considers the response to any feedback received on the database.
On a weekly basis, a Researcher from each University, will carry out an extensive literature search to identify new interactions and update existing interactions with the most recent, up-to-date literature. Based on a critical analysis of the available literature for a specific interaction, the Researcher drafts the 'Advice for the patient' and 'Commentary on evidence' sections of the interaction monograph and provides a draft general recommendation for the interaction.
The interaction monograph is then editorially reviewed and approved (after any recommendations) by a senior member of the editorial team. The process of review focuses on the nature and quality of the evidence and clinical relevance of the potential interaction. Monographs are always written from an international perspective.
Central to the inclusion of any data in the Western Herb/Supplement/Food-drug interactions database is the process of careful critical appraisal of the published studies from international literature. This process is facilitated by documents such as the CONSORT statement on reporting randomized, controlled trials of herbal interventions (Gagnier et al, 2006) and the NHMRC hierarchy of assessing evidence.
For the Chinese Herb-drug interactions database, the Research team at NICM HRI submit any new inclusions to the Internal Review Team, followed by the External Reviewer, for approval.
The writing and review teams are made up of researchers with specific experience in clinical practice, pharmaceutical industry, scientific evaluation of herbal medicines, herbal medicines clinical research (including investigation of interactions), clinical pharmacology, scholarly publication, peer review and biopharmaceutics. Taken together, this skill mix provides the best opportunity to develop high quality monographs that have relevance to guide clinical practice.
The IMgateway content providers have received no financial support from pharmaceutical or manufacturing companies for the monographs created to date.
IMgateway is committed to ensuring editorial integrity and independence. The development of our editorial content is free from advertiser bias and is not influenced by commercial interests. IMgateway will not accept advertising that is known to contain false or misleading claims. Nor will we accept advertisements that promote pornography, sexism, racism, violence, firearms, alcohol or tobacco products.