Cloud centre to boost neighbourhood health

A new Australia-first research centre is using neighbourhood data to develop intelligent, low cost digital health interventions.  

The centre, based in Melbourne and the first of its kind in Australia, is dedicated to developing smart, localised programs to tackle health issues like diabetes and other programs aimed at improving public services.

The Data for Social Good Cloud Innovation Centre will see a team of experts from Swinburne University and Amazon Web Services Australia come together to use data to map out key health issues in localities and grow bespoke mobile health interventions.

The team will focus specifically on managing chronic diseases such as diabetes with online tools which, for example, provide tailored real-time advice on lifestyle and guidance on medications. But the centre will also look at using data to improve other public services like education, public facilities and even to fast-track smart cities.

Professor Aleksandar Subic, Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development said that neighbourhood-level insights are crucial to reduce the burden of disease.

“There’s already research showing that the probability of having chronic disease relates to where you live so understanding that and mapping that data in cities or regions where this occurs can help improve health services or make them more bespoke.”

The centre is already undertaking work in Melbourne around the provision of human services, particularly in rural and regional areas.

“We are interested in how neighbourhood-level data can be used to improve the transparency and efficacy of local decision making,” Professor Subic said.

“By providing a means of sharing relevant and timely data regarding issues that are of local importance, such as transport, employment, human services, and child welfare, communities can make consensus decisions and monitor the outcomes. This enables residents to be more engaged in improving their neighbourhood.”

Professor Aleksander Subic








Professor Subic said that the institute will develop programs by first identifying vulnerable populations and then looking to develop specific, targeted programs.

Because the programs will be cloud-based, Amazon says that they are lower cost and can be shared between localities, which is of particular use for vulnerable regional or remote areas.

Vincent Quah, APAC Regional Head for Education, Research and NFP at Amazon told Government News that the centre is aimed at improving the efficacy of public services.

“The big idea behind the centre is for it to serve as a customer innovation centre to drive capabilities to drive public sector challenges,” he said.

“The CIC will be looking at bringing in the challenges identified with organisations and using data to develop services or innovation.”

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