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Outcome Health’s research platform, Aurora, aims to provide an ethics-based ecosystem to conduct research by utilising de-identified data from participating GP practices.

PHN’s have ownership and oversight of the de-identified extracted data sourced from constituent practices and must consent to any data release. We advocate for translational research aiming to provide high quality outcomes, for tangible benefit to PHN’s, GP’s, and our communities.

Scaled national coverage

In partnership with PHN’s, Aurora holds one of the few comprehensive general practice datasets in Australia. The dataset consists of de-identified electronic medical records, extracted from thousands of participating practices across Australia.

Not for Profit

At Outcome Health, our independent governance framework ensures data is only provided for research purposes with a clearly articulated translational plan to improve health outcomes in Australia. Under our governance model data is released only with PHN’s consent and is never shared commercially or for profit-based motives.

Ethics approval by the RACGP

Research conducted on Aurora data is covered by ethics approval.

Since August 2017, POLAR maintains ethics approval granted by the RACGP’s National Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee, for the collection, storage, and transfer of general practice data.

Individual projects must also undergo ethics review prior to a request being considered by the POLAR governance group, as well as PHN’s consent.

Apply for access

Researchers Can apply directly to PHN’s with data access requests. Otherwise, they can approach Outcome Health with any research queries and support during the process. Please note, final access approval for any subsets of deidentified general practice data, will be granted under PHN’s consent. for more information on the approval process, please contact Outcome Health via

Current POLAR research projects

PHNs involved with Aurora have high exposure and engagement with research activity in their local areas.

Understanding the cancer patient's primary care journey: A data linkage study

South Eastern Melbourne PHN is supporting an innovative study linking primary care with the Cancer 2015 patient cohort. This project, conducted by researchers at Monash University, will enable us to examine and understand the patient’s primary care encounters along their cancer journey. It is the first of its kind in Australia. Ethics approval for this project was granted by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No: 11065)

COVID-19 – utilising near real-time electronic General Practice data to establish effective care and best-practice policy

The interruption of normal patterns of health care and the suspension of services during COVID-19 has meant that the pandemic has also had a major impact on the detection and treatment of many non-COVID-19 conditions. Electronic general practice data are a valuable resource which can be used to inform population and individual care decision-making.

This project is based on a collaborative relationship involving the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, Macquarie University, Gippsland, Eastern Melbourne, South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Networks and Outcome Health.

The project will identify emerging trends related to COVID-19, its diagnosis, treatment and medications prescribed, and its impact on patients as well as monitor the impact of interventions/policy decisions. The project page can be accessed here.

Ethics approval for this project was granted by Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No: 5201700872)

Impact of telehealth reforms on general practice viability during COVID19 pandemic and beyond

The implementation of strong social distancing measures by the Australian government triggered a rapid reform in Medicare, with the introduction of Medicare funded telehealth (video and telephone) services. These reforms were designed to maintain access to care and reduce risk of infection for vulnerable patients and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.   However the impact of these reforms on general practice billings and therefore practice financial viability is unknown.  This research will provide insights into how telehealth has been adopted into general practices and the impact of telehealth items on general practice viability. Ethics approval for this project was granted by the University of Technology Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No ET18-2507)


This project will design a comprehensive intervention to improve prevention of liver cancer in people living with chronic viral hepatitis. Read more. Ethics approval for this project was granted by Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No 2021.231)

SAFESIG GP COVID: Vaccine safety surveillance using de-identified representation data following vaccination

General practice is a critical point of immunisation against COVID19 for a large proportion of the Australian population. This project will benefit GPs, PHNs, the community cared for by them, and the health system by helping to identify unsafe vaccines as early as possible and providing confidence vaccine safety is being closely monitored. Ethics approval for this project was granted by Monash Health Human Ethics Research Committee Ref No RES-18-0000-232A)

Understanding prevention and long-term management of stroke in general practice

Survivors of stroke often have a range of impairments and are at an increased risk of subsequent vascular events. Researchers from Monash University will link a subset of Aurora data with data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry to better understand care delivery pathways and improve outcomes for stroke survivors. Ethics approval for this project was granted by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No: 23553)


Using data to improve outcomes with pharmaceutical opioids

Australia has the 8th highest opioid prescribing rate in the world. Mortality from pharmaceutical opioids has doubled over the last decade. There is an urgent need to better understand opioid use patterns, outcomes and detection of harms. Researchers will use Aurora data to better understand opioid use patterns, identify risk areas around opioid supply and analyse the impacts of opioid-related policy decisions on prescribing. Ethics approval for this project was granted by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No: 24139)

Primary Health needs and service utilisation of people with disability

Researchers from Summer Foundation (a leading support organisation working to increase accessible housing for young people with disability) will lead an exciting project to conduct a three-way privacy-protecting linkage between general practice, the hospital setting and the National Disability Insurance Agency. The primary outcome is to better understand the pattern of health service use by National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and to develop interventions to ensure equitable access to healthcare initiatives by people with disability. Ethics approval for this study was granted by Eastern Health Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No E20/001/58261)




SNOTWATCH: Establishing impact of common infective conditions at local and community level

Common respiratory and gastrointestinal infections cause significant childhood illness in community, general practice and hospital settings.

The project aims to:

  1. Create SNOTWATCH- a service mapping respiratory and gastrointestinal results in Victoria for clinicians and consumers to use to see current local activity in their area
  2. Use these results from the past to estimate the contribution each organism makes in the burden of childhood illness and health-care utilisation. This will help provide the evidence for supporting treatment and vaccine decision making as well as identifying predictable patterns of spread to provide an early warning system for the future.

Ethics approval for this project was granted by Monash Health Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No RES-19-0000-312A)

SAFER-AUS Trial: Screening for Atrial Fibrillation with ECG to Reduce stroke – a randomised controlled trial

One in four adults aged >40 will develop Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in their lifetime. It is an important health problem associated with a 5-fold increase in stroke, more often disabling or fatal. While AF may give rise to palpitations or other symptoms, there are frequently none, especially in older people with the highest risk of stroke. The primary objective of this study is to determine if screening for AF is effective at reducing stroke (both ischaemic and haemorrhagic) compared to usual care and to quantify other potential benefits and harms of screening. Ethics approval for this project was granted by The University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref No 2021/825)

Completed Projects

A summary of completed projects to date is available here.

Publication list

An updated list of Aurora-supported publications is available here.

“The Outcome Health team has been immensely helpful and insightful around explaining the dataflows and structure of the database, such that WVPHN analysts are already starting to realise new insights not previously possible.”

Manager Health Intelligence & Analytics Western Victoria PHN

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About POLAR – Data Driven Innovation

Outcome Health’s POLAR platform is designed to systemise the benefits of big datasets, and enhance evidence-based decisions that can affect individuals and broad population groups alike.

In a fragmented healthcare system, POLAR provides you with the right solutions to maximise the potential of your data.

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