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Are privacy concerns holding back research that could benefit people in rural and remote areas?

Jennifer Doggett writes: In the era of Facebook and over-sharing on social media do we need to be as vigilant about protecting individual health information as we have in the past? The tension between balancing privacy issues with access to data for researchers, managers and policy makers in the health sector was a common theme [...]

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Providing localised data to guide policies, programs and services

Jennifer Doggett writes: Which regions of Australia have the highest rate of low birth-weight babies? Are males in regional and remote areas more at risk of mental illness than those in cities? Where do children in ‘jobless’ families live? Do women in the most disadvantaged areas have lower rates of breast screening than those in [...]

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Some interesting predictions for our future – and what these might mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

Where do you think Australia is heading? And what might that mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and research? Contrasting scenarios are imagined in a new report from The Lowitja Institute, The Shape of Things to Come: Visions for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research.  The report is based [...]

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The new world of big health data: some questions about profits, privacy and the public interest

It’s time for an informed public debate about the many questions raised by the commodification of “big data” in health, according to Canberra Law School academics, Bruce Baer Arnold and Wendy Bonython. ***  Who is taking care of your health data? Bruce Baer Arnold and Wendy Bonython write: Are the UK and Israeli health systems [...]

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Calling for open access to Australia’s oral health data sets

Opening up oral health datasets for wider access by researchers and the public could bring many benefits, say researchers from the International Research Collaborative – Oral Health and Equity at The University of Western Australia. Their article below lays down a challenge to Federal and State Governments, as well as the Australian Institute of Health [...]

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UK report on Tamiflu highlights failings of health authorities, regulators, industry, and clinical trials

Longstanding questions about a key plank of the international response to pandemic influenza - the stockpiling and widespread use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) – have been reignited by a new UK Government report (for some background, see my 2009 story in Crikey). The report by the UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee report has also [...]

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Profiling the journal articles and reports that packed the most useful punch in 2013

Articles on climate change, pharmaceutical industry manipulation of research, and Indigenous health were among those nominated by Croakey contributors as the most useful journal articles or reports that they read in 2013. Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, University of Sydney Meinshausen and colleagues’ extended letter in Nature in 2009, Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to [...]

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Some critical insights into how to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing: a new report

For research and programs to make a positive difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, they must be based on “Indigenous ways of learning, knowing and being”. That was a central theme of the University of NSW’s fifth annual symposium on Indigenous health research, Dreaming up the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait [...]

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Are governments locking up information that could be used to improve our health?

The Menzies Foundation is to host a workshop in Melbourne that aims to promote greater understanding of the potential public health benefits of data linkage.  Professor John Mathews, Executive Director of the Menzies Foundation, writes below that important benefits have come from research based on data linkage, including this recent study, which found an increased cancer [...]

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A surprising lack of clarity around the definition of core primary health care services

“The implementation of primary health care (PHC) may well be one of the most significant systemic and ideological health reforms of modern times. Countries with stronger PHC systems have demonstrably more efficient, effective, and equitable health care. Primary health care can be considered a philosophy, an approach to the delivery and development of services and [...]

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