University of Cambridge > > MRC Biostatistics Unit Seminars > BSU Seminar: "The HealthGap study: Using linked administrative data to understand cardiovascular health of Indigenous people living in Victoria, Australia"

BSU Seminar: "The HealthGap study: Using linked administrative data to understand cardiovascular health of Indigenous people living in Victoria, Australia"

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and morbidity in Australia and is a key contributor to the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians. Internationally, research has made use of routinely collected administrative data to examine the management of cardiovascular risk, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and the treatment for those with cardiovascular disease. A key benefit of using routinely collected data for this purpose is that it can facilitate our understanding of health and risks of poor health outcomes in hard-to-reach populations, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. However, a significant challenge of using administrative healthcare data in Australia is that the responsibility for key health services is distributed between individual Australian states (e.g., hospital care) and the federal government (e.g., pharmaceutical benefits and primary care). Administrative data collections are therefore siloed across care sectors and jurisdictions, requiring complex data negotiation to authorise linkage.

The state of Victoria faces unique challenges that limit the use of linked health care data for the purpose of improving health care access and outcomes, with particular concerns surrounding the accuracy of Indigenous identification. This means Victoria’s Aboriginal community has been largely excluded from national health datasets rendering them invisible. To address the gaps in understanding cardiovascular outcomes and risks among Indigenous Australians in Victoria, the ‘Closing the gap on Indigenous cardiovascular health’ (HealthGap) study was created to recalibrate existing risk models for cardiovascular events for Indigenous Australians living in Victoria using linked administrative data. This presentation will cover some of the challenges encountered when using linked administrative data for this purpose in Australia, pragmatic solutions the team developed to tackle these challenges and findings from analyses examining cardiovascular risk and care in the Victorian population.

Dr Karen Lamb is a senior research fellow and biostatistician in the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. She provides senior support on observational and linked health research studies to health researchers at the university through the Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health research Hub (MISCH) and is lead biostatistician on the HealthGap study led by Associate Professor Luke Burchill, Lead of the Cardiovascular Health Equity Group at the University of Melbourne.

This talk is part of the MRC Biostatistics Unit Seminars series.

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