MQ Health - Macquarie University

Health informatics

AIHI’s Centre for Health Informatics explores how information and communication technology is changing the way that healthcare is delivered. The overarching goal of this research is to design and evaluate future healthcare systems that build on the latest in information and communication technology.

For example, one area of research seeks to exploit the increasing digitisation of healthcare data to deliver a ‘learning’ health system. Such a decision-support system would eventually predict, at the push of a button, the optimal treatment for each patient from real-time matching of their data with large numbers of similar electronic records.

Complementary research is developing software tools to assist clinicians assimilate the rapidly growing volume of medical and health research findings. These tools, which use computational linguistics and machine learning, are able to integrate evidence from multiple sources to help the clinicians to make evidence-based decisions in their everyday work. A related area of study seeks to devise automated ways to measure and mitigate biases in research and so deliver the most balanced evidence-base for medical decision making.

Of course, new health software and technologies come with new risks, including those arising from systems failures. Consequently another active area of research is understanding and mitigating the safety risks of current and future digital health technologies.

Other studies are focussed on ‘consumer informatics’ to understand how new health ‘apps’, websites and social media impact on consumers, patients and their carers.