Using big data to prevent ill health, disability and death

At the Centre for Big Data Research in Health (CBDRH), we source big data for our research into chronic diseases. This includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. 

Chronic diseases affect almost half of the Australian population, causing substantial ill health, disability and premature death. Many people with chronic diseases experience multimorbidity, which is the presence of two or more chronic diseases in a person at the same time. 

Our research into chronic diseases uses multiple sources of big data including hospital, Medicare and pharmaceutical records to tackle questions including:

  • How do health behaviours such as inactivity and poor diet cluster together and interact to drive risk of chronic diseases?

  • How effective are integrated care programs for people with chronic diseases?

  • How do multimorbidity and frailty interact?

Project: Development and evaluation of regional health care alliances to improve health system performance in New South Wales - Patient Centred Co-commissioning Groups - NHMRC Partnership Project

Although Australia has a high performing health system, it faces widening inequities, large variation in quality of care, and unbridled growth in health care spending; now exceeding 10% of gross domestic product. This poses major challenges for health system sustainability and the prosperity of the nation more broadly. This project establishes a partnership between the New South Wales Ministry of Health (NSW Health), an initial three Local Hospital Districts (LHDs) and two Primary Health Networks (PHNs), the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) and leading health service researchers. We will develop, implement and evaluate Patient Centred Co-Commissioning Groups (PCCGs) which are new regional alliances between LHDs and PHNs. PCCGs will commission novel care pathways for a target patient population with the goal of improving health care access and quality, patient experience, and reductions in total health care spending.

In 2020, two initial PCCGs will be established in diverse regions. Western Sydney will create a multi-faceted, community-based, rapid access service for patients with urgent care needs. Western NSW will develop a coordinated care model for people with diabetes at high risk of complications. Each year an additional 4 PCCGs will be added until all ten NSW PHN regions have PCCGs in place. Each PCCG will receive new funding from NSW Health for developing the care pathway, commissioning new services according to local priorities. Outcome payments will be provided if total health care spending is reduced and quality of care is improved compared to baseline.