CSIRO scientists Dr Christine O'Keefe, Dr Warren Jin and Dr Damien McAullay.

CSIRO scientists Dr Christine O'Keefe, Dr Warren Jin and Dr Damien McAullay.

Early warning health surveillance system

CSIRO’s surveillance technologies allow streams of data to be analysed by computer in near real-time to provide early warning of unusual changes.

  • 11 October 2005 | Updated 14 October 2011

Early warnings allow emergency strategies to be quickly put in place to prevent the spread of diseases and minimise harm.

Early warnings mean being able to quickly detect:

  • the onset of the flu season
  • outbreaks of diseases like Avian Influenza
  • bioterrorism events
  • changes to public health system use, such as increases in emergency department visits and the nature of those visits
  • areas within the healthcare system where improvements to safety and quality could be made.

CSIRO’s early warning system

CSIRO’s tools and technologies for surveillance can be tailored to the needs of our immediate collaborators.

Automatic adjustments can be made for known causes of changes in the health system, such as major sporting events and seasonal effects, increasing the likelihood of the system generating meaningful warnings.

CSIRO’s tools and technologies for surveillance can be tailored to the needs of our immediate collaborators.

Surveillance results are presented in easy-to-interpret software for epidemiologists, health policy makers and health system administrators.

Beyond early warning

Future potential uses of surveillance technologies to improve health care include:

  • identifying individuals at risk of an adverse outcome, and understanding the causes
  • understanding the impact of lifestyle and health service delivery on health outcomes
  • understanding the effect of health system policy changes, such as the availability of a new medicine
  • evaluating the effectiveness of health promotion campaigns and other interventions.

CSIRO also intends to expand its surveillance technologies into other domains, such as banking and finance, where routinely collected data is available for real-time alerts and information.

Learn more about the scientist working on this project, Dr Christine O’Keefe: protecting our privacy.