Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gets $2m for COVID-19 data project

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is receiving 2.9 million Australian dollars ($2 million) from the federal government for its COVID-19 data project.

The agency is one of 14 research groups funded for a total of A$31.5 million ($22 million) by the government’s Medical Research Future Fund to help improve Australia’s understanding of the COVID-19.


AIHW’s National Linked Data Platform combines COVID-19 case data from participating states and territories with other datasets, such as elder care, deaths and hospitalizations. It will also include data from the Medicare Consumer Directory, the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System, the Medicare Benefits Schedule, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Australian Immunization Register.

The agency protects an individual’s identity and privacy by de-identifying their information. To strengthen the management of the privacy and confidentiality of its data, it uses the Five Safes Framework, which minimizes the risk of re-identification by only providing data to researchers in secure access environments.


According to the AIHW, linking datasets related to COVID-19 “will provide new insights into the health outcomes of people who have been diagnosed with the disease and the effect COVID-19 has had on the health system. health and the community at large”. It will paint a more complete picture of the relationship between COVID-19 and risk factors, the best prevention or early intervention approaches, and the effectiveness of health and safety interventions.

Linked datasets can also be used by researchers to explore a range of issues associated with the pandemic, such as reinfection rates and the effect of vaccines and treatments.


Just this week, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization released a report in which he offered recommendations to streamline data sharing to support future responses to the pandemic. One of his suggestions is to improve the country’s ability to link health data with non-health data. The agency said this will allow government agencies to anticipate patterns of spread during pandemics, provide projections on the success of interventions, and inform response decision-making using predictive modeling methodologies. and epidemiology.

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