Data-based Research to Improve Health

The Menzies Foundation hosted a workshop on 16 August 2013 to discuss ways that publicly-funded data can be made more available for public-benefit research. This workshop was attended by public figures and community representatives, senior public servants, members of parliament, researchers and media. 


Themes of the workshop

Publicly-funded data, held in trust by government agencies, should be made more readily available for public-benefit research

  • Public benefit research will improve the knowledge-base, as well as the effectiveness, productivity and accountability of health and other agencies of government, without harm to privacy.
  • With public support, this will require
    – A modest investment of new resources
    – An enabling response from government agencies
    – A streamlining of approval processes
  • Government is already responding (eg APS Big Data Strategy)
  • Today's workshop will review evidence of public support for data use, and explain how health can benefit from the modest changes summarised in background documents and in later presentations.

Towards an Australian Centre for Research & Evidence in Allied Health

This workshop and background information over many years, resulted in the establishment of the Menzies Health Institute Queensland


  • Allied Health (AH) staff are still relatively young to research
  • Considerable work is needed to develop and promote a research culture in clinical practice in Australia
  • Many examples of good research(ers) but tend to be:
    – Disorder-based (e.g., aphasia, stuttering, gait, etc)
    – Within each profession, rather than cross-disciplines
    – Not necessarily (yet?) fully integrated in terms of providing good evidence-based models of multi-disciplinary AH care
  • Healthcare is being transferred from hospitals to community or home settings, esp. chronic illness
  • Changes to Australian health workforce
  • Need for quality, integrated, managed healthcare
  • Lack of available/accessible data about models of best practice in AH models either have not been developed or have not been scientifically tested
  • Need to develop the research base necessary for underpinning models of good practice across AH