The Lumos program links de-identified records to map patient journeys from primary care to other settings and health information sources in NSW, including hospitals, cancer registry and cause of death information. Data from this program uncovers new insights to identify ways to improve patient outcomes and experiences across the state. So far over 380 general practices are enrolled, and new information about the patient journeys of approximately 25% of the NSW population is generated twice per year.
Secure data linkage
Risk to patient privacy is minimised by de-identifying data before it leaves practices through Privacy Preserving Record Linkage (PPRL), which uses bloom filters in a probability-based linkage framework. The PPRL technology used in the Lumos program was developed by Curtain University and linkages are performed in partnership with the NSW Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL).
An innovative solution for data access
The Secure Analytics Primary Health Environment (SAPHE) was developed in 2020 to allow secure access this unique data asset. It is a custom cloud solution with built-in analytics tools and extensive privacy and security measures. SAPHE users can use data to support planning, funding, management or evaluation of health services. The SAPHE allows employees outside NSW Health to access this type of data for the first time in NSW.
Dr Alison Koschel from Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) was one of the first users of the SAPHE and reflected on her experience:
“MPHN is excited about the possibilities of using the SAPHE to work with our General Practitioners (GPs) and Local Health District partners to inform and reshape healthcare in the future. In this fast-paced data world we are now working in, this data is revolutionary in terms of linked up healthcare data.”
Supporting value-based healthcare
The insights developed through the Lumos program support policies and improvement initiatives aimed at improving healthcare in NSW. Service planners and GPs are currently using Lumos data to:
- Inform policy on how much medication patients receive at hospital discharge.
- Evaluate state-wide value-based healthcare initiatives, including Integrated Care and Collaborative Commissioning.
- Improve local GP triage processes to reduce unnecessary presentations to the emergency department.
- Improve local GP testing for chronic diseases most relevant to their patients.
Doctors on the frontline are excited about the potential of Lumos data to improve healthcare: “Lumos has provided us with significant insights into how our patients interact with the health system outside of our own practice… which has allowed us to focus our quality improvement processes where they’re most needed.” (Dr Nuwan Dharmaratne, Hills Family Practice).