Data for Decisions

Research Overview

The ‘secondary’ use of de-identified medical records is widely recognised to have the potential to improve public health. Individual patient records are important to doctors and individuals, but when de-identified (to maintain anonymity and patient privacy) and combined with many thousands of other records, a powerful research tool is created with the potential to generate new knowledge to improve health care.

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Data for Decisions, incorporating the Patron program of research, is a University of Melbourne research initiative undertaken through the University’s Department of General Practice. With the permission of general practices, we collate date from de-identified medical records and use the information for research to increase knowledge, quality improvement and improve healthcare practices. The data is stored in a University of Melbourne managed primary-care data repository called Patron.

The first practices consented to contribute to Data for Decisions in late 2017, but the program has been under development since 2016, building on strong foundations of international good practice in data governance and management.

The diagram depicts the steps from extraction of de-identified data from general practices, to use of the data by researchers - including the ethics, governance, legal and advisory processes.

Data for Decisions focuses on the use of de-identified data from general practice medical records to expand knowledge and ultimately promote service and population health improvements. Every research project that accesses the data stored in the Patron primary care data repository does so only after meeting rigorous data governance and ethics requirements. Each project using Patron data is described below, and each research group will provide a reader-friendly summary of their findings, and list of resulting publications, when available.



  • Anna Wood - General Practice Research Officer
  • Ms Angela Ouroumis - Program Manager, VicREN
  • Prof Lena Sanci - Data Custodian, Head, Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne
  • A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis - Academic GP
  • Prof Jane Hocking - Epidemiologist
  • Prof Douglas Boyle - Data Steward, Original developer of GRHANITE, Director of HaBIC R2
  • Prof Jane Gunn - Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science, Professor, Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne
  • Prof Jon Emery - Professor of Primary Care Cancer Research, The University of Melbourne and Western Health
  • Nicholas Lee - Data Warehouse Manager, HaBIC R2
  • Gary Yu Sun - GRHANITE Technical Support Lead Engineer, HaBIC R2
  • Amit Taneja - GRHANITE Technical Support Officer, HaBIC R2
  • Warwick Strangward - Operations Manager, HaBIC R2


We thank each and every primary care practice that is partnering with Data for Decisions. Some practices wish to remain anonymous and some wish to be named.*

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