2016 – Health Program Impacts

The health program was established in 2011 to assist in optimising health outcomes and service delivery

During this time, the CRCSI co-funded projects with partners delivering a range of outcomes including: the development of an online reporting and mapping application which made a wealth of health information more accessible to staff within health agencies enabling faster, more efficient decision-making, spatial modelling methodology critical for disease burden estimation in areas with small populations; successful linkage of environmental data with medicine usage for patients with lung disease; assistive clinical diagnostics through an innovative 3D facial analysis tool and a systematic evidence-based approach to prioritising resources where most needed post exposure to disaster.

Spatial health research garnered national attention and advocacy which led to a new portfolio of research to be undertaken which built on existing research and provided greater capability for the health sector.

National Cancer Atlas

Building on the success of the Queensland Cancer Atlas, this new national digital atlas allowed health agencies, policy makers and the community to understand the location and resource requirements for Australia’s most prominent cancers including breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. The National Cancer Atlas used robust modelling to determine cancer screening, cancer incidence and cancer survival in Australia. The digital workability of the atlas analysed cancer into small local clusters without jeopardising privacy and confidentiality.

The 18-month research project influenced Australia’s health policy and localised approach to cancer screening, intervention and treatment.

Multiple agencies involved in this research included the CRCSI, QUT, QCC, Australian Institute of Health & Welfare and Australian Government Department of Health – which bring together leading skills in statistical modelling, digital architecture and a suite of data products.

Equitable Hepatitis B Treatment

New research modelled Hepatitis B in Australia to improve effective health programs in migrant and indigenous populations. Hepatitis B is a chronic disease overrepresented in these populations. The 14-month project with CRCSI partners RMIT, University of Melbourne and the National Health and Medical Research Council used location data to better understand demographics, mobility and the clinical care pathways for these at-risk populations located in Victoria and the Northern Territory. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare supported the research through data interpretation.

The outcome of the research was dynamic spatial forecasts that map the future of Hepatitis B. In turn this information allowed planning of clinical strategies, resource allocation and the development of a static and interactive spatial Hepatitis B visualisation. These outcomes were embedded in the National Hepatitis B Strategy which aimed to achieve 15% treatment coverage up from the current five per cent.

Burns Assessment and Treatment

Teaming with the Fiona Wood Foundation Burns Unit, Curtin University photogrammetry specialists determined the feasibility of integrating 3D imagery technology and automatic analysis to provide a more accurate and objective measurement of burn assessment which lead to improved clinical outcomes (patient recovery). Using non-invasive imaging techniques for burns management could significantly assist clinicians to make timely decisions in order to optimise the chances of recovery and minimise scarring.

Integration of Data into Policy and Planning

The Australian Government Department of Health had, for the first time, were to release Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data to each state to determine if new knowledge or insights could be gained through analysis of the data. CRCSI partners, WA Department of Health and Curtin University analysed this detailed primary health data and associations with selected hospitalisation examined to assess the value of these data to inform strategic planning and system policy development.