We collaborate with government, industry, universities, cooperative research centres and other international agencies to achieve positive research outcomes to improve health services and deliver technology-driven solutions. This section provides information resources to discover our national and international work in the health sector.

Our health research 

We work with our partners to form multidisciplinary research teams to address major national and international health challenges. From digital health innovations, to infectious diseases research, to our nutrition and diet research, we are working to help people live healthier lives. These presentations provide information about our Health and Biosecurity business unit, research capabilities and facilities and success stories.

Nutrition and Health Research Clinic

The Nutrition and Health Research Clinic is located at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide. At the clinic, CSIRO researchers and clinic staff work together to run a variety of human nutrition studies that lead to health impacts for the Australian community. Learn more about the Nutrition and health research Clinic.

Success stories

Prawn salad from The Total Wellbeing Diet.

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

CSIRO's research led to the development of the higher protein, low-fat diet that is nutritious, facilitates sustainable weight loss and is supported by scientific evidence. The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a nutritionally balanced, scientifically proven eating plan that can help you feel less hungry and lose weight. The program is available as a series of books and a 12 week online program. Find out more about CSIRO diets.

Eye care in rural and regional communities

We have developed a telehealth system, Remote-I, to enable delivery of specialist eye care in remote areas. Find out more about our digital health technologies.

[Music plays and text appears on screen: Sight Saving Science for Western Australia]

[Image changes to show a picture of an eye]

[Image changes to show Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam, Research Director, Australian e-Health Research Centre]

Prof Yogesan: My focus is to prevent needless blindness in rural communities, especially in the indigenous population living in rural Western Australia and also in Torres Strait Islands.

[Image changes to show A/Prof Mei-Ling Tay-Kearney, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Royal Perth Hospital]

A/Prof Mei Ling: The prevalence of diabetes in these populations are much, much higher than in the non-indigenous Australians.

[Image changes back to Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam]

Prof Yogesan: It’s about 40 per cent of the aboriginal population have diabetes, and one third of them will develop some sort of eye problem and if they don’t manage very well they can become blind.

[Image changes back to A/Prof Mei-Ling Tay-Kearney]

A/Prof Mei Ling: If one can actually pick up early changes and provide the appropriate intervention, one can actually prevent blindness.

[Image changes back to Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam]

Prof Yogesan: So that’s why we managed to develop this technology and business model where you can actually provide the service directly to the doorstep of people living in rural and very remote areas.

[Image changes to show Jenny having her eyes scanned]

Jenny Day: My name is Jenny Day, my mother was born at Wongawol Station and she’d be known as a Yamaji and I’m a Yamaji woman.

I see retinal diabetes as a disease that the community needs to know a lot more about.

[Image changes to show Jenny Day, Founding Director, Community Development Foundation, addressing the camera]

It’s prevalence is increasing rapidly and we need to get more community involved into what it is and how we can prevent it.

[Image changes to show a silver car driving along a road]

A/Prof Mei Ling: The health worker goes out to the community; clients come in to an office.

[Image changes back to show the health worker scanning Jenny’s eyes]

The health worker then tests their vision and takes pictures of the back of the eye.

[Image changes back to A/Prof Mei-Ling Tay-Kearney at her desk working on a computer]

This health worker then uploads the image onto a computer and from there it’s transmitted across to a website and I, myself, can then access this website from anywhere and anytime. It takes me about five minutes to read the images, create the report and then send it back to the health worker.

[Image changes back to Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam]

Prof Yogesan: This entire program can actually save a lot of money for the health system.

[Image changes back to Jenny Day]

Jenny Day: It means that they’re not uprooted, they don’t need to get themselves organise to come to Perth.

[Image changes back to Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam]

Prof Yogesan: It empowers the local health care workers, screeners and nurses, and also doctors who are practicing in rural areas to make decisions, whether the patient has to be referred or not.

[Image changes back to Jenny Day]

Jenny Day: It can be done in Kalgoorlie, can be done in Leonora, it can be done anywhere.

[Image changes back to Prof Yogesan Kanagasingam]

[Image changes back to show Jenny having her eyes scanned]

Prof Yogesan: We have very successfully implemented this system in China, in Guangdong Province, so if we can implement in China, so why can we not implement in Australia? - it’s only 20-million people.

[CSIRO logo appears with text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

Sight Saving Science for Western Australia

Patient Admission and Prediction Tool (PAPT)

CSIRO developed software to help hospitals predict how many patients will arrive in emergency, their medical needs and how many will be admitted or discharged. Find out more about the PAPT software.

Music plays and text appears: Patient Admission Prediction Tool]

[Image changes to Dr James Lind, Director of Access and Patient Flow, Gold Coast Hospital]

Dr James Lind: The Patient Admission Prediction Tool is a tool to look at exactly what it says, it predicts to about 95% accuracy which patients are coming in and when.

[Music plays and image changes to an outside shot of Robina Hospital, then to the Emergency Department with ambulances parked out the front]

We know today that there are 12 people coming in with broken arms and legs. Only one of them has come in up to date, but we know there's another 11 out there, so what we've been able to do is set aside emergency theatre time for these people already, so we know that they're coming, and we know we can treat them.

[Image changes to show a patient being wheeled through the hospital corridors in a bed] [Image changes to show a patient seated on a bed]

[Image has changed back to Dr Lind]

Patient: At the moment I walked in I spoke to the person and I sat there for ten minutes, and the doctor called me in, and so here I am. So it was like less than half an hour I'm waiting to have my cast put on.

Dr James Lind: It was difficult at first because many people didn't believe the tool could do what we said it could do.

[Image changes to show a cast being applied to the arm of a patient and then moves back to Dr Lind]

Up til recently a fallacy existed that all hospitals had to be at 85% occupancy for optimal patient flow. Using the mathematics of CSIRO we've actually dispelled that rumour, and we can actually show categorically that that's not true, and we've actually worked out optimal occupancies for not just our hospital but other hospitals. Now people trust in the tool and it actually informs our strategy. The performance of this hospital, compared to the data from 2010, has actually increased its four hour score by 20%. We now run above the federal target, and we're one of the largest HHS's that actually is able to do that. The impact for staff is that this can be done within hours, so that it actually minimises the amount of overtime. It also minimises the amount of stress because it's done in a well ordered fashion, and everyone knows their jobs and responsibility, and where the actual problems that we need to address are.

[Image changes to show Dr Lind and colleagues discussing graphs and information that's displayed on a monitor]

One of the key points with the partnership with CSIRO is that we provide the clinical input, and the mathematics resource optimisation etcetera does come from the CSIRO expertise, but it's marrying these two important areas together. You couldn't do it without either one, and that's where the partnership has been fantastic. The proof of the pudding really of this tool is we're in the middle of winter; it's the worst point for an emergency department because of the winter surge that occurs. Up til recently you would have seen pictures of ambulances queuing outside to get into emergency, and all the beds being full. If we look today, on one of our busiest winter's day, you can see there are still free beds in the emergency department, and there's only one ambulance outside, which has managed to offload its stretcher.

[Camera pans over the Emergency ward beds and staff and then moves to show the stationary ambulance parked outside]

What we're able to do with this tool is show people that actually what happens in health care is very predictable on a day by day basis.

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo appears with the text: Big ideas start here www.csiro.au]

Hospital patient admission prediction tool :  Dr James Lind describes how this tool helps hospitals manage patient load.

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