An incredible panel of data experts has described and challenged the opportunities that data provides in delivering better outcomes for patients and consumers at Research Australia’s inaugural Speaker Series event at NSW Parliament House.
Researchers, policymakers and politicians discussed some of the most topical issues around the use of data in health and medical research, diving in to the complex issues of data safety, how data can be used to make Australian’s lives better and exactly why the research community wants your data.
The Hon Catherine Cusack MLC, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Inclusion welcomed attendees to the first in a series of events designed to highlight some of the most topical issues facing the sector today, with big names in the sector both on the speaking panel and in the audience.
Chaired by ABC’s National Medical Reporter Sophie Scott, the panel discussed the topic of “Is New South Wales ready to harness the transformative power of data in health and medical research?”. The panel itself included Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque (CEO of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation), Professor Emily Banks (Scientific Director of the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study), Dr Avi Ratnanesan (CEO of Energesse) and Harry Iles-Mann (Patient/Consumer Advocate).
With the Australian Digital Health Agency’s creation of a My Health Record for all Australians, the discussion focused on the collection, use and protection of consumer data in the health system. The audience was taken on a health consumer’s journey through the eyes of Harry Isles-Mann, who shared the good and bad of his experiences and why he is so passionate about engaging the public in the future of health and medical research.
Dr Levesque spoke to the audience about where NSW is heading regarding data-centric projects that will impact health consumers, and how the state is placed compared to other health systems through the lens of his time in senior positions responsible for publicly reporting information in the Canadian health system.
The crowd included representatives from the Australian Digital Health Agency, NSW Ministry of Health, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, Austrade, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, the Centenary Institute, Ingham Institute and Bupa Health Foundation.
The 45 and Up study run by the Sax Institute is the largest ongoing study of healthy ageing in the Southern Hemisphere, following a group of more than a quarter of a million people. This placed the study’s Scientific Director, Professor Banks, in a unique position to share insights on how important data is to researchers whilst Dr Ratnanesan described how his company translates the voice of the consumer to healthcare providers.
The discussion’s focus on data was no coincidence, with Research Australia defining “Data as a national resource” as one of their key strategic objectives. The focus of the objective being on harnessing the transformative power of data to accelerate advances in health. You can read a copy of the Collaborative Strategy here.
The event as made possible by the event partners, the Vodafone Foundation and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Dan Lloyd, Vodafone Foundation Chief Strategy Officer, was on hand to talk about the DreamLab app which uses smartphones to donate data to download tiny research problems, calculate them, and then send the result back to the research team at Garvan.
Stay tuned to the Speaker Series page on this website for more information on upcoming Speaker Series events.