Centre for Health Informatics

About the Centre

image - Centre for Health InformaticsThe Centre for Health Informatics (CHI) is Australia's largest academic research group in this emerging discipline. The Centre's work is internationally recognised for its groundbreaking contributions in the development of intelligent search systems to support evidence-based healthcare, developing evaluation methodologies for IT, and in understanding how communication shapes the safety and quality of health care delivery. Centre researchers also are working on safety models and standards for IT in healthcare, mining complex gene microarray, medical literature and medical record data, building health system simulation methods to model the impact of health policy changes, and developing novel computational methods to automate diagnosis of 3-D medical images.

The Centre of Health Informatics (CHI) is building an international reputation as a research leader in the application of information technology to healthcare. Its principal aim is to map the complex organisational systems that shape today’s health system and to design rigorous, system-wide interventions that provide a sustainable platform for future health systems, locally and internationally.

The Centre’s main activities are the development of intelligent systems to support evidence-based healthcare, the development and application of evaluation tools to assess the impacts of information technology in healthcare, and fostering an awareness of how management and communication systems shape the safety and quality of healthcare delivery.

The Centre conceives that the potential use of information and communication technology in healthcare settings will occur incrementally in some areas and radically in others. It also acknowledges that while some changes in healthcare are highly predictable, others are clouded by an uncertain, and potentially chaotic future.

The Centre for Health Informatics is a research partner to major healthcare providers, research institutions and governments, including the New South Wales Department of Health, the National Institute of Clinical Studies and The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

CHI makes contributions to:


Break-through discoveries in information, communication, cognitive and organisational science needed to support health service innovation and biomedical researchers.


Providing expert input and leadership into government, shaping e-health policy priorities and goals.


Invention of novel information technologies and methods that can transfer into industry and health services.


Training future researchers through postgraduate research degrees, and educating clinicians, technologists and policy makers in health informatics through postgraduate programs and Winter Workshop.

Our Research Areas 
Patient Safety Informatics - Associate Professor Farah Magrabi

Our Patient Safety Informatics program is examining how health service delivery can be made safer through the effective use of information technology (IT). We are also investigating the unintended ‘side effects’ of IT, which itself may cause patient harm. Ensuring that patient care does not unintentionally lead to patient harm remains one of the unsolved problems of health services research.

Modelling and Simulation in Health – Dr Blanca Gallego-Luxan

We are working to model and possibly ‘re-invent’ the healthcare system by finding the mechanisms that underpin the inertia to change healthcare practices.

Consumer Informatics – Dr Annie Lau

The Federal Government has now committed to seeing all Australians having access to an online personally controlled health record (PCEHR) from mid 2012, with an investment of about $477 million.

To better understand the impact that the PCEHR and other technologies have on disease prevention and self-management, we have developed a new consumer e-Health platform to support personal and socially mediated decision-making, called Healthy.me. Using this platform, our aim is to provide empirical evidence on how e-Health and online social networks affect our health behaviours, decisions and outcomes.

Clinical Decision Support and Translational Bioinformatics – Dr Guy Tsafnat

We are interested in how evidence is gathered,  synthesised, presented and used in clinical decision making.  We continually innovate in natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), information retrieval (IR), mining electronic medical record (EMR) systems and Bioinformatics datasets. 

Our projects include collaborations with national and international partners including:

  • modelling the genomic mechanisms behind the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance and "super-bugs"
  • automation of evidence based medicine tasks to support systematic reviews and evidence summarisation
  • supporting clinical practice guideline, indicators and evidence summary development teams
  • mining patient records for hidden evidence
  • identifying and monitoring bias in evidence production and reporting