Data Connect: A critical investment in the future of cancer care

Data Connect was officially launched on 4 April 2023 by The Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas, Minister for Health at the VCCC building.

The result of six years of planning, piloting and development, Data Connect provides expert support to researchers to access multiple linked data sets. These can be studied to answer key questions about cancer diagnosis and care to benefit people affected by cancer in the future.

Data Connect Co-Chair Professor Jon Emery said it is the first time in Australian cancer research that general practice and hospital clinical data have been linked. “This opens up a plethora of new opportunities and insights into key aspects of cancer care with the potential to make a real difference to patients’ experiences and to health policy and guidelines,” he said.

“Connecting healthcare data from primary care and hospitals is essential to understanding the factors that contribute to later cancer diagnosis and treatment, affecting patient outcomes and ongoing health issues.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister Thomas noted the disparities in cancer outcomes for regional Victorians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and the importance of supporting GPs and primary carers, who play crucial roles in diagnosing and caring for patients.

“How do we keep working to ensure that we are providing the insights that great minds like yours can bring to cancer care, and include everyone? We do that by connecting the data that is available in the acute care sector with the data in primary care for the first time in Australia,” she said.

“The enabling infrastructure and the secure access to deidentified primary care and hospital data, will play a key role in closing the capability gap that exists within the research community, supporting more rapid translation of advances in cancer research into practice.

“We know that the early detection of cancer is what it is all about. The more that we can empower our primary carers to have the best information available to help them to diagnose that cancer early, the better the outcomes that we will see.

“I’m very proud of the funding that the Victorian Government has committed to the VCCC Alliance. Data Connect is a critical investment in the future of cancer care here in Victoria."

For more information visit the new Data Connect landing page on the VCCC Alliance website:

Photo: L-R: Prof Grant McArthur, the Hon Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Dr Fanny Franchini, Prof Jon Emery