Bits & Bytes
Data linkages for rural and remote health research How to maximise the use of national, regional and local health data sets for shaping and evaluating frontline rural and remote health services and policy is one of the focuses of the 4th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium, being held in Canberra in September. The symposium will feature speakers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Medicare and the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA). Topics include data linkage and monitoring changes over time, handling some of the challenges with data analysis in rural and remote areas, getting access to reliable small area data and linking big and small data sets for geo-spatial mapping. Speakers will also discuss how to improve collaboration between national data agencies and local health service providers, community groups and earlycareer researchers. The keynote address will be delivered by David Hansen, CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Centre (AEHRC) Dr Hansen will give examples of CSIRO research in rural and remote Australia and how the information gathered can be used to inform government policy and funding models. An important aspect of the work is to extract meaning from the wide range of home and health service data collected as part of service delivery. He will discuss the telehealth trials CSIRO is involved in around the country, as well as the use of mobile phones, tablets and sensor networks to support the delivery of health services in the community, including cardiac rehabilitation, smart home technology to enable older Australians to live safely in their homes, and tele-medicine systems for remote eye screening.
Griffith launches apps for chronic fatigue and headache research Griffith University has launched a new app to help patients with chronic fatigue syndrome better manage their illness, along with a headache app designed to be used in a research study to record daily ratings of head pain.
with anonymised data entered by patients sent to its researchers.
The chronic fatigue app, called CliniHelp, is also suitable for patients with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis and allows them to record symptoms, track them on a weekly basis and monitor changes in their condition.
NCNED head Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik said a major advantage of CliniHelp was that it will allow physicians to be more informed of their patients’ symptoms, as cognition can be a major impediment for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Griffith, which has officially opened a specialist chronic fatigue clinic based at its National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases (NCNED) on the Gold Coast that will receive patients in October, will also use the app for research purposes,
Users’ records can be stored on their mobile phones as PDFs and shared with their healthcare practitioners.
An iOS version of the app is available now, with an Android version due soon. Griffith has also launched an app that can be used by participants in research projects such as its ENHANCE project, which is
studying the effectiveness of managing headaches using a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and a new approach called learning to cope with triggers (LCT). The Griffith Health Institute research team, led by Paul Martin of the Behavioural Basis of Health program, aims to help headache sufferers to become desensitised to triggers such as food, noise and stress or to build up a tolerance to them. In partnership with Wexpert Technologies, Professor Martin’s team has developed an electronic headache diary that can be used by participants in the study in order to record daily ratings of head pain. “Information recorded via the app can be directly downloaded into data files, saving time and eliminating transcription errors,” Professor Martin said. “The technology will enable the team to know when the ratings of head pain are made, rather than relying on the self reports of the participants. This app will benefit the ENHANCE project but will also be a very useful tool for other headache researchers around the world.” The app can be used on smartphones and PCs.
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