Flying Blind
The Australian Health Data Series

Flying Blind is a series of three reports dedicated to uncovering the acute levels of data fragmentation existing at all levels of Australia’s health landscape.

in collaboration with

The blog posts are intended to be read in sequence. We welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions.


Submitted by Divya Ramachandran
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 13:56
Researchers merry go round graphic

One would think that the process of obtaining data to conduct health and medical research in Australia would be straightforward. Unfortunately, it’s not. Researchers are constantly plagued by incessant delays and lengthy negotiations – all which stem from the fact that they have to go through a variety of different processes before their projects can commence.

The processes for obtaining datasets are incredibly unwieldy. They’re riddled with inefficiencies and duplication, which means researchers are pitted into an unwilling dance between multiple sets of data agencies, custodians, data linkage key and infrastructure providers, all whilst they’re chasing approvals from multiple ethics committees. The end result? The pace of Australian health and medical research (HMR) is slowed, drastically.

Submitted by Michael Nolan
Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 14:00
Australian health and medical researchers

Talk to most Australian health and medical researchers and they’ll tell you that data is vitally important to their work. Data can help us track population health trends and further our understanding of disease causation. It might be used to target government spending more effectively, or identify instances of low value medical care.[1] The right kinds of data can even allow us to survey pharmaceutical drugs once they’re released onto the market, and tell us what kinds of side effects these drugs are producing – or if they’re even working at all.