Research can make a difference

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Organisations who engage in research are high performers.

The Aurora research platform aims to provide you with an ethics based ecosystem to conduct research relevant to your PHN and practices.

We believe in action research with high relevance to PHNs and General Practice.

Scaled national coverage

Aurora holds and manages one of the few comprehensive general practice datasets in Australia. This dataset consists of de-identified electronic medical records extracted from over a thousand practices across Australia.

Not for Profit

Our independent governance framework ensures that data is only provided to research institutions aiming to improve health outcomes in Australia. Data is never shared with organisations aiming to commercialise or use the data for profit based motives.

Ethics approval by the RACGP

Research conducted on Aurora data is covered by ethics approval.

In August 2017 RACGPs National Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee granted POLAR ethics approval 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 groups.

Apply for access

Researchers from universities, hospitals and other organisations can apply to access subsets of de-identified general practice data to conduct research relevant to PHNs & General Practice.

For access queries and more information on approval processes, email

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.

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.

Patterns of care for people with musculoskeletal conditions by GPs in Victoria

This study is investigating management of patients presenting with low back, neck, knee and shoulder pain particularly in relation to radiological imaging requests.


This project will design a comprehensive intervention to improve prevention of liver cancer in people living with chronic viral hepatitis. Read more.

Anticipatory prescribing patterns for GPs in Gippsland

Anticipatory prescribing enables relief of distressing symptoms for palliative care patients in their home. This study, conducted as a partnership between Gippsland PHN and La Trobe University, is investigating patterns of medication prescribing and management processes for patients in community palliative care.

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.

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.

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.


Completed Projects

A summary of completed projects to date is available here.

Publication list

An updated list of Aurora-supported publications can be accessed here.

“POLAR is an innovative platform that helps to improve and better support our work with general practices. It has enabled us to take a leading role in driving quality research in partnership with our general practices.”

CEO Gippsland PHN

Primary Health Networks

POLAR PHN software provides PHNs the tools to visualise and monitor key health and service access trends, providing insight for planning activities, project development and evaluation.

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General Practice

POLAR GP is a modern web based clinical intelligence tool designed to support GPs in providing the best patient care, as well as optimising business output.

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Our healthcare system is complex. POLAR sets out to systemise the benefits of big data, enhancing evidence-based decisions that can affect individuals through to broad population groups.

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