HaBIC today is an entity that represents the future of health care and medical research. Collection and analysis of health data is the established scientific method for developing an evidence base for understanding and treating disease, and the strongest and smartest basis for managing public health and health system performance. The scientific discipline of health informatics focuses on why and how to describe, collect, store, assure, secure, share, integrate, analyse, visualize and mobilise health data, health information and health knowledge, in order to contribute to planning, problem-solving, decision-making, enquiry and learning in health. The contributions made by health informatics around the world have been transformative for the collection and analysis of raw health data, its organisation into meaningful health information, and its systematisation as health knowledge.
Health data processing is now complex and globalised; for example the big data generated by the revolution in digital medical imaging, by omics medicine, and by the Twittersphere and other social media. Health professional practice and patient self-management is increasingly information-intensive. The concepts of e-health and digital health express the potential offered by Internet information and communication technologies for improving health systems, through integrating patient health records, disease registries, and public health reporting. The effect of information and communication technologies on the changing nature of work is becoming recognised across all of the health professions. New biomedical knowledge is exponential and impossible to master by relying on traditional modes of professional education and knowledge management; for example, new challenges are raised by the systematic review process overload, by the burgeoning of stealth research, and by the emergence of citizen science initiatives. Mobile and social web technologies have begun to change the dynamics of research in biomedical science, by facilitating the participation of ordinary citizens on a wider scale and on a more meaningful level than ever before.
HaBIC is investigating the interfaces and interactions between technologies in health and the people who use them, providing the infrastructure for the secure storage of high-volume personal and public interest data, and developing methods that enable the linkage and use of diverse data types to support decision-making. Furthermore, HaBIC is actively translating this research into education, services and engagement activities. Cumulatively, this work can support the creation of rapid-learning healthcare systems. To achieve all this requires health informatics researchers to work together with patients, clinicians, administrators and researchers on a significant scale, in sustained programs of health informatics research.
HaBIC works collaboratively with related research units across the University of Melbourne, including:
- Melbourne Clinical and Translational Science (MCATS)
- Melbourne Networked Society Institute
- National Ageing Resarch Institute (NARI)
- School of Population and Global Health
- Melbourne eResearch Group
- and the University Affiliated Hospital and Research Institutes
HaBIC is a university level research centre of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Schools of Engineering and Computing and Information Systems.