Churchill Fellowship Awarded

22 May 2018

Launceston GP and Associate Professor in General Practice at the Launceston Clinical School, Dr Jan Radford, has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to support her research into General Practice electronic data.

Currently undertaking a Clifford Craig funded study into kidney disease, Associate Professor Radford described receiving the prestigious award as a welcome boost to her research.

The Fellowship will see her travel to the UK and the Netherlands to find out how efforts to collate routinely collected, de-identified, electronic general practice health record data can be sustained and be best used to improve patient care. “These countries have had systems set up to collect and use general practice data for more than 30 years,” Associate Professor Radford said.

“As GPs in Australia we are already involved in significant data collection but I am interested to know how we encourage this to continue, how we value-add to the GPs who share their data, and how we get more GPs to participate.” Associate Professor Radford uses electronic medical record data in her own practice to undertake audits with the aim of improving patient care. “General practices are great ‘research laboratories’ as they have data, patients, researchers and the latest patient profiles including blood pressure, weight, diagnoses and medications prescription data,” she said.

A dedicated researcher, Associate Professor Radford co-ordinates the Northern Tasmanian General Practice Research Network, and has also established a research group at the University of Tasmania that uses general practice data, and supports a national program that has pioneered the large-scale collection of de-identified general practice electronic medical records.

“It’s a very new endeavour in Australia where collating de-identified GP clinical data is in its infancy in terms of finding effective collection mechanisms and much can be learned from countries like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and the United States,” she said. “My vision is that we will use this valuable, primary care data which is very rich and close to the area of delivery, to paint really great pictures of what health looks like in terms of diseases at least, in Tasmania.”

Churchill Fellowships are aimed at providing people from all walks of life, the opportunity to travel overseas to gain new knowledge and insights, to bring back to Australia to positively impact communities.