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The challenge

Improving patient health outcomes and equality

Addressing Australia's key health priorities through the development of technologies that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system and improve patient health outcomes and equality.

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Three of the central pillars of the financing of the Australian healthcare system include:

  • achieving universal access
  • achieving equity in service provision, and
  • containing the cost of all health services, including services funded by Government.

When it comes to healthcare, access, quality, and cost are all major priorities for the Australian Government.

Our response

A national research response to Australia’s health system priorities

The Australian e-Health Research Centre (AEHRC), CSIRO Digital Health Research program and an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO and the Queensland Government, represents a national research response to Australia's health system priorities in several important respects.

  • Improving access to health services. Through the use of broadband and mobile communications, the Health Services group delivers innovative technology to overcome the burden on health services, including those caused by chronic disease, and the needs of an ageing population. A wide range of technologies are being developed and tested to improve health services to urban, rural and remote Australians.
  • Personalising diagnosis and treatment. The AEHRC has harnessed the use of genomic and biomedical data by using advanced mathematical methods to transform large volumes of data into clinical information. This means that treatments and interventions can target precisely the patients benefiting the most, while sparing those unlikely to benefit to avoid unnecessary cost and side effects. This research is made possible through strong partnerships and networks of researchers, clinicians, and industrial partners that enhance technology uptake and leverage much broader investment in targeted diagnosis and treatment in Australia.
  • Transforming health systems. Various elements of the AEHRC research program connect the availability of data with decisions that improve patient outcomes and health system performance and productivity. The unleashed value of health data in electronic health records and administrative data sets is being used to improve the understanding of demand for hospital services, and the efficiency of ED presentations, triage, and hospital admissions processes. Patients benefit from improved data quality, data interoperability between clinical systems and clinical decision support through the clinical terminology tools of the AEHRC.

The results

Improved health and wellbeing of Australians

AEHRC has delivered an impressive portfolio of research, building strong links with users to ensure adoption of technologies, techniques, and decision supports that deliver benefits to patients, the health system, medical research and the wider community.

In recognition of the value and quality of research, programs within the AEHRC are already returning generating significant revenue, despite programs being spread across the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) spectrum. A third of all programs have a TRL of 4 out of 9, and are still being validated in a laboratory environment. Only 11 per cent have successful operational experience with sustained engineering support (rated 8 or 9 out of 9), and 26 per cent have a rating of 3 or below, as they are still in the proof of concept stage or below.

Close to half of the total investment costs of the Centre have been returned through revenue, with $38 million out of $80 million leveraged from various state government and industry sources over the past 5 years to further support and extend AEHRC’s work into the Australian community.

A large variety of AEHRC platform technologies and associated products are already in use or being trialled in research centres, Australian hospitals, residential aged care facilities, and individual homes as adoption continues to expand.

New insights into diseases have been made using AEHRC technologies through large clinical studies where AEHRC staff have leadership roles, resulting in clinical trials of novel therapy and treatment.

Patients are benefiting from more targeted treatments, preventative strategies, and improved rehabilitation, improving patient quality of life and workforce productivity.

An economic analysis was performed on one technology within the AEHRC portfolio — the Care Assessment Platform / MoTER cardiac rehabilitation program — substantiated a benefit cost ratio of 3.8 to 4.2 depending on existing access to services.


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