About Us

Data for Decisions, incorporating the Patron program of research, is a University of Melbourne research initiative being undertaken through the University’s Department of General Practice.

Explore the 'Communities & Data Use' tab for more information for GPs and Practice Managers, Consumers and Researchers (including submission deadlines for Data Access Applications).

About Data for Decisions

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.

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 and Primary Care. With the permission of general practices or other primary care providers, we collate data 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. An independent Data Governance Committee made up of members of the public, GPs, practice managers, researchers and a lawyer, makes a determination on behalf of the data providers on which researchers / which research projects can access the data.

In some instances, the primary care providers agree to provide their de-identified data to be used only for a specific research project instead of being made available to a range of projects.

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

Data for Decisions research initiative

1 minute video

See our open access article - Gathering Data for Decisions - in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Rachel Canaway, Douglas IR Boyle, Jo‐Anne E Manski‐Nankervis, Jessica Bell, Jane S Hocking, Ken Clarke, Malcolm Clark, Jane M Gunn and Jon D EmeryMed J Aust 2019; 210 (6): S12-S16. || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50026

Data for Decisions promotional video

3 minute video

To be fully informed, listen to the full discussion about Data for Decisions (filmed April 2018):

Listen to the full audio (43 minutes)

Data for Decisions research initiative (extended version)

15 minute video

The Data for Decisions program collects and uses de-identified patient information for research in an ethical and secure way. The information is stored in a database managed by the University of Melbourne. Data contributed by general practices will help to improve the way medical care is delivered and inform the education of future health professionals.