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CSIRO ticks A$20 mln funding for ICT innovation in healthcare

31 July, 2008

CSIRO has welcomed the launch of the Australian e-Health Research Centre (AEHRC) as a national venture, supported by A$20 million in funding from the Federal and Queensland governments.

Established in 2003 as a joint venture between CSIRO and the Queensland Government, the AEHRC is a key delivery point into the health system for CSIRO health research based on information and communication technologies (ICT).

CSIRO ICT Centre Deputy Director, Dr Darrell Williamson, says the Brisbane-based AEHRC has established research nodes in Adelaide and Melbourne and already made significant progress in realising the potential of ICT for improving health outcomes.

The AEHRC research program delivers to CSIRO's Preventative Health National Research Flagship, which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through research into prevention, early detection and intervention.

Research undertaken at the AEHRC is leading to the development of simulated training tools (enabling colonoscopists, for instance, to become more skilled), home monitoring systems for patients recovering from heart attack, and improved imaging techniques to facilitate early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.

Advanced software tools are also being used to link and analyse large and complex data sets to help improve cancer care, better understand the risks associated with anaesthesia and enable secure and ready access of electronic medical records for healthcare professionals.

CSIRO and the Queensland Government announced today that $20 million would be provided to fund the Centre’s operations until 2012. This announcement also celebrates the AEHRC’s new premises at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Eminent clinician and AEHRC Medical Director, Professor Bruce Barraclough AO, said: “It is an exciting time to be working with AEHRC scientists and engineers who are making great progress in addressing important health issues.

“Their research is starting to fulfil expectations that health information technology can make a real difference to the delivery of healthcare.”

AEHRC CEO Gary Morgan said the Centre has a strong focus on seeing research innovation translated into outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals.

“The funding renewal will allow us to complete some major projects as well as initiate some new projects with a national focus. They will be undertaken with some of the best practitioners and hospitals across Australia – ensuring we have the critical mass to apply technology to make a real difference to health outcomes”,  Morgan said.

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