School of Population Health

Unifying and quality assuring disparate health data silos with a common data model

Banner Teng Liaw

The National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC) has awarded grants to support 22 research initiatives as part of its $20 million Partnership Projects scheme.
Professor of General Practice at UNSW Sydney, and Director of WHO Collaborating Centre on eHealth, Siaw-Teng Liaw’s vision is for general practice to contribute data as an integral part of the national research enterprise across primary and secondary care.
Professor Liaw believes Australia is a ‘highly fragmented information ecology with silos of disconnected non-standardised data holdings’ across most healthcare settings, with disparate data models and quality assurance mechanisms – which his research aims to improve.
This research aims to create a unified information enterprise to support data-driven innovation and research. By mapping national general practice data repository MedicineInsight to a common data model, Professor Liaw anticipates it will contribute to unifying Australia’s digital data assets. His vision is to see cost efficiencies and benefits from sharing interoperable data and tools for large-scale multicentre and multisystem data analytics.
Allaying privacy concerns, Prof Teng adds, ‘No data will be shared – they remain private and secure within the general practice or the data repository. What is shared through this program are the platform and tools for data quality assessment and analytics of the dataset. The use of common tools and methodologies enables consistent and logical integration and interpretation of the analytical findings.’
The UNSW Sydney research is a partnership with NPS MedicineWise, Central & Eastern Primary Health Network, South Western Sydney Local Health District, GP Synergy, University of Melbourne, University of South Australia and CSIRO. It was undertaken to address two key foundations essential for collaborative data sharing and data-driven research across the continuum of care, education and research: the quality and interoperability of data from multiple information systems.

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School of Population Health (SPH), UNSW Medicine