The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences has released a new report reviewing the needs and requirements, challenges, and opportunities in Australia’s health data ecosystem.
Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Health and Medical Sciences is part of a project led by Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) in collaboration with Australia’s five Learned Academies and ACOLA to ensure Australia can undertake excellent data-enabled research across all fields of research.
For decades, health data has been an important tool for understanding disease, providing care and improving health. The recent growth in the collection and availability of electronic health data represents new opportunities to advance health and medical research, as well as challenges related to the safe and secure use of personal information.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted both the crucial role data has in the global response to the pandemic and the stark knowledge gaps resulting from a lack of data.
“Researchers today have more opportunities to utilise health data to answer a greater breadth and depth of research questions to benefit the health of Australians and the global community,” said Professor Louisa Jorm, chair of the AAHMS Health and Medical Data Steering Committee. “Through research, the use of health data can fundamentally shift the needle on Australia’s most pressing health challenges.”
Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Health and Medical Sciences explores the current health and medical research data landscape, the needs and requirements of the future, challenges, and gaps and opportunities.
Key findings include
- More coordinated and coherent data infrastructure, assets, policies, governance and ethics processes would enable better health and medical research.
- Developing a national linked data asset for use across disciplines and sectors would create opportunities for research and better facilitate research using linked person-level data.
- Growing and nurturing data skills in research and within the health system will be crucial to advancing the future of data-intensive health and medical research in Australia.
- It is crucial that the research community and data custodians build a social licence for data use in health and medical research – by growing public awareness and trust, seeking to understand public perceptions and concerns, and protecting the privacy of data collected from individuals.
A synthesis report is available from ACOLA outlining common themes, challenges and opportunities across the disciplines. Download the ACOLA report and access all the Academy reports here.
The AAHMS report is a scan of the health environment, focusing on the use of data and data infrastructure as it relates to healthcare and medical research. Download the AAHMS report below.