Uni offers leading edge health advice

Tuesday, 13 January 2004

The Horizon Scanning Unit in the Department of Public Health of the University of Adelaide has become the sole government provider of leading edge advice on health technology in Australia and New Zealand through a new network called the Australian Horizon Scanning Network.

Established in December last year and directed by Professor Janet Hiller, Head of Department of Public Health, the Unit provides advice to the Australian Commonwealth, States, Territories and New Zealand Ministry of Health on emerging health technologies, new devices, novel diagnostic tests and procedures.

"It is imperative to evaluate the impact these new and emerging technologies may have on our current health system if introduced," Professor Hiller says.

"New health technologies, procedures or services are often introduced into the health system without warning or in an uncontrolled manner. This can have serious implications on the public health care system including increased costs to patients, lack of trained professionals, and ethical considerations," she says.

The Horizon Scanning Unit is responsible for preparing documents addressing new and emerging technological information. In order for staff at the Department of Public Health to have an international perspective on medical technologies, they are constantly scanning a wide range of media outlets such as the World Wide Web, medical articles, licensed agents, or seeking expert opinion from a range of professionals.

The Horizon Scanning Unit provides 'early warning' to policy makers of emerging technologies that may have significant impact on the health system. By providing evidence-based briefing documents on technologies, this alerts planners and policy makers in advance of the potential impact in terms of safety, effectiveness, cost and ethical considerations before being introduced into the health system.

"These documents, which are freely available on the Internet, will assist planners and policy makers to monitor and control newly introduced health technologies.

"In addition, we will be able to prioritise and allocate resources, thereby increasing cost efficiency," Professor Hiller says.

 

Contact Details

Professor Janet Hiller
Email: janet.hiller@adelaide.edu.au
Deputy Head, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3573


Ms Tracy Merlin
Email: tracy.merlin@adelaide.edu.au
Manager
Horizon Scanning Unit
Department of Public Health
Business: +61 8 8313 3575


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084