National Center for Healthy Aging big data research finds COVID-19 did not impact hospital presentations for urgent medical care

The Healthy Aging Data Platform, based at the National Center for Healthy Aging (NCHA), has underpinned a landmark study to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care utilization. emergency in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula area of ​​Melbourne.

The study found that, compared to historical patterns and trends, Melbourne’s prolonged closures between March and September 2020 did not lead to a reduction in the number of people seeking care for urgent medical conditions, including heart attacks. and strokes; or overflow into the emergency services, following the switch to telehealth by the country’s general practitioners.

Led by biostatistician, Dr. Taya Collyer and epidemiologist, Associate Professor Nadine Andrew, the research team was able to analyze more than 400,000 emergency room presentations, 370,000 acute admissions and 15,600 subacute admissions.

The NCHA Healthy Aging Data Platform uses state-of-the-art and scalable analytical techniques such as data binding, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing for effective and efficient interpretation routinely collected health information and medical records.

Working with Professor George Athanasopoulos from the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at Monash University, the team was also able to apply the latest forecasting methods to generate a picture of what hospital attendance would have looked like in 2020 without COVID-19.

“The data showed us that the biggest reductions in hospital use over this period were for the elderly, children and young people,” Dr Collyer said. “With people who have also frequently accessed emergency department care, staying away, perhaps attempting to self-manage their complex care needs from home.”

The findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology in Community Health, are significant because they are the first study to accurately and comprehensively examine the impact of extended closures in 2020 on hospital presentation.

NCHA Director, Professor Velandai Srikanth, said the was a wonderful example of how the Big Data Healthy Aging Data Platform was able to provide a research-ready environment.

Biostatistician, Dr Taya Collyer

Biostatistician, Dr Taya Collyer

“Through the Healthy Aging Data Platform, we can help clinicians and researchers gain an in-depth understanding of the clinical, social, geographic, and health service factors that influence healthy aging.”

The NCHA-based Healthy Aging Data Platform is used to develop, inform and influence national solutions for aging health and care.

A partnership between Peninsula Health and Monash University, funded by the Commonwealth Government, the NCHA is an important part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting healthy aging in Australia, which will result in the transformation of the way care is delivered and received. in our aging populations.


About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with over 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its founding, it has established a reputation as a world leader in high-impact research, quality teaching and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of Australia’s most internationalized universities.

As a leading international medical research university with Australia’s largest medical school and integrated with Australia’s leading teaching hospitals, we consistently rank among the world’s top 50 universities for clinical, preclinical and health.

For more information, visit Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences or Monash University.

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Sean N. Ayres