Harnessing data to support the delivery of value-based cancer care

A new data linkage system, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), is being piloted by three of the cancer clinical quality registries at Monash University, with funding allocated by Monash Partners from the federal government’s Medical Research Futures Fund.

A new technology, FHIR enables previously incompatible datasets to ‘talk to each other’, overcoming a major barrier to the collection and use of data for healthcare improvement, research and innovation.

Monash University began deploying FIHR in four Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium health services in late 2019. The pilot project will enhance data collected by the prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer clinical quality registries. It will do this by drawing key data from hospital-based electronic medical records to produce registry-level reports. These reports will benchmark practices used to monitor trends in clinical and patient-reported outcomes.

Key learnings from this important work will inform how to expand the scope and reach of the FHIR system to streamline data collection from most institutions around Australia.

‘Now, more than ever before, our health services need data management systems that communicate effectively with each other so we can inform flexible models of care,’ said Professor John Zalcberg OAM, Clinical Lead of the FHIR project originally developed by Professor Sue Evans in the School of Public Health at Monash University.

‘Additionally, cancer registries have an important role to play in directing cancer research towards priority areas,’ Professor Zalcberg added.

The FHIR team is now examining how elements of the database can be automated, and research is being undertaken to develop an app to support this process.


‘We believe FHIR can support growing cancer incidence amid a growing population in Victoria by harnessing data to match patients with clinical trials, assist them and their treating teams by generating reports, and a whole host of other functionalities.’

Mr Vinoo Abraham 
Project Manager, Monash Partners


‘This project aims to enhance understandings of the ‘real-world’ impact of cancer care, and in doing so increase our health system’s ability to respond to the needs of people with cancer, and deliver value-based care.’

Professor Helena Teede
Executive Director, Monash Partners