Using big data to improve patient prediction, management, outcomes and care

At the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, we source big data for our research into cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. These diseases affect around four million Australians and cost the Australian health system $12 billion per year. 

Our cardiovascular disease research uses multiple sources of big data, including hospital, Medicare and pharmaceutical records to tackle questions including:

  • Can we use routinely collected primary care and mammography data for early prediction of increased risk of heart attack or stroke? 

  • Can we use detailed electronic medical records to predict which cardiovascular patients will be readmitted to hospital?

  • Are there sex differences in the pre-hospital, hospital and post-discharge management of heart attack and stroke?

  • How do pathways of care and outcomes following heart attack vary between urban and rural patients?

  • What are the comparative outcomes of medication management versus atrial ablation for patients with atrial fibrillation? 

  • What are the comparative long-term outcomes of open surgical versus minimally invasive heart valve replacement?

Project: CardiacAI: Deep learning to predict and prevent secondary cardiovascular events – MRFF

Project: Novel deep learning methods for large-scale cardiovascular risk screening using Australian digital health data - MRFF

Through two synergistic studies we will use deep learning methods to deliver highly novel, low-cost approaches to cardiovascular risk screening to achieve unparalleled population reach using health service data already available for millions of Australians:

  1. Using multimodal data captured in Australians’ Electronic Medical Records, we will develop and validate the world’s first cardiovascular risk screening algorithm that uses clinical text data and longitudinal event sequences, and updates dynamically to incorporate new data.
  2. Using mammographic images for 54,000 women participating in the Lifepool registry, together with established record linkage, we will develop and validate the world’s first mammography-derived cardiovascular risk screening algorithm.

Working with policymakers, clinicians and consumers, we will design and conduct agile pilot trials to test and refine implementation options and inform large-scale rollout and evaluation.

Uniquely, our novel risk screening tools will:

  • Leverage, at minimal extra cost, existing multi-billion-dollar investments in population-based infrastructure that already has very broad reach and high public awareness.
  • Be suitable for automated implementation at scale and across multiple technology platforms with minimal extra burden or risk for patients or clinicians.
  • Complement established services, by identifying individuals at high risk who would not otherwise have cardiovascular screening and directing them into current pathways for in-depth cardiovascular risk assessment by their general practitioner, funded through the new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Heart Health Check items.