03 October 2023

An exciting joint project between VAHI and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care has led to the development of an extensive linked dataset of Victorian and Commonwealth data that provides an evidence base to help us answer this question.

The collaboration involved provision of Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) data to the Centre for Victorian Data Linkage (CVDL) to link with Victorian hospital and other health datasets.  The CVDL undertook the first round of linkage in early 2023.

Authorised Commonwealth and Victorian government data analysts can now access the linked data in CVDL’s secure virtual access environment VALT to explore agreed research questions.

The first round of research questions explored the impact on chronic conditions, pain management and palliative care, cancer treatment and mental health. This was followed by a second round of research questions jointly approved between agencies relating to long COVID, elective surgery and antiviral treatments.

Dr Phillip Gould, First Assistant Secretary and the Chief Data Officer of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care notes the importance of this project.

“The Commonwealth has been proactively collaborating with Victoria on understanding COVID-19 impacts and recovery response. Our collaboration extends to working with research partners across the academic sector so we can bring together people with the right skills and backgrounds,” Dr Gould said.

VAHI CEO, Dr Lance Emerson said the kind of analyses that can be undertaken using linked data necessitate that we build on collaborations like these.

“Our goal via the CVDL is to link as many of these datasets as possible… the research opportunities opened up via linked datasets are potential game changers.

“We saw the appetite of the research community to access linked data at our recent long COVID conference. It inspires us to forge more partnerships that enable us all to make more of the data we have,” Dr Emerson said.

If you want to explore the opportunities of linked data, contact Sharon Williams, Manager of the Centre for Victorian Data linkage via [email protected].