Data and Research

Data and Research

Data underlies everything that WSD does and is a key component of the broader strategic plan.

In 2023 WSD will continue its collaborations with universities, and work across partnerships including the Ministry of Health, rural LHDs and PHNs, university partners, and our private partners as well.

WSD will continue to grow its data work with innovative models, including work with organisations such as SiSU Health.

Benchmark Estimates

WSD has long held a goal of providing strong estimates of weight and diabetes across WSLHD, as we know that traditional sources often underestimate the issue. In 2019, WSD settled on the robust estimate of 12% of our population over the age of 18 in WSLHD has diabetes. 

This has now been taken up by the NSW Ministry of Health, with updated figures showing that an estimated 13.1% of all adults in WSLHD have diabetes, up from 7.9% when WSD started this work.

WSD is working on innovative sources of data to review the impact of the ongoing diabetes epidemic using:

  1. Weight
  2. BMI
  3. HbA1c

In 2023, it will continue to enhance its datasets, with a particular focus on work with SiSU health which will allow it to look at millions of observations across WSLHD.

In addition, WSD has started working with the very large Ministry of Health datasets through the dedicated SAPHE portal. This will allow both evaluations of our existing programs as well as looking at benchmark estimates across a network of GP clinics and hospitals in WSLHD.

Diabetes Detection

As part of our enhancing data estimates in 2023, WSD is looking at improving diabetes detection across WSLHD in partnership with a range of industry and public partners. This has been described elsewhere in the plan, but from a research perspective we will also aim to collect a range of data on the project and produce both a detailed internal report as well as scientific publications looking at the piloting of a pragmatic detection program in local areas.

Priority Populations

WSD has a major focus area looking at improving the diabetes situation for priority populations within WSLHD. This is a key factor of health equity, to attempt to remedy issues that are caused by social factors. As part of this, from a data and research perspective, we aim to enhance our understanding of the burden of diabetes in communities such as:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Pacific Islands
  • South Asian
  • Mainland Chinese
  • Refugee

And others over the course of 2023.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

WSD has long been leading the way with our diabetes management protocol, including CGM for the management of type 2 diabetes. WSD has already initiated a number of projects aimed at reviewing the effectiveness of CGM in a pragmatic clinical setting, however in 2023 it also aims to expand on these with projects looking at:

  1. Pragmatic evaluation of past CGM
  2. Using Ministry of Health data to review CGM effectiveness
  3. Long-term follow-up of CGM
Randomised Clinical Trials

In 2023, WSD aims to continue its randomised clinical trials, including the TWO-BIRDS and Flash-CGM studies. TWO BIRDS has since been halted, but in 2023 will aim to review and analyse the data, while Flash-CGM, a randomised trial of CGM in outpatient clinics, is continuing recruitment.

In addition, WSD was successful on two grant applications in 2022, and these randomised trials will begin in 2023. These trials are the Wear-It for Diabetes randomised trial of wearables in primary care, and the Nature Navigator randomized trial of nature prescription for people with diabetes. Both of these are scheduled to start in 2023, and work has begun to push forward with this important research.

Grant Applications

Continuing on from our successful grant applications of 2022, WSD aims to apply for local and national grants in 2023, including:

  1. MRFF Primary Health Care grants
  2. ACI research grants
  3. Translational Research Grant Scheme grants
  4. Other opportunities
Postgraduate Students

In 2023, WSD will continue to support its PhD students Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz and Sumathy Ravi, as well as students from the University of Sydney Master of Public Health program.


With the addition of Victoria Silvestro to the team as the dietitian, WSD aims to begin looking at dietetics research in 2023. This will include the impact of dietetics on patients’ insulin, weight, CGM markers, and more, as well as looking at the efficacy of hard-copy food diaries vs newer, app-based data collection systems.


In the last few years, WSD has spent a great deal of time developing its program for healthcare through online means. WSD has recently proposed, in collaboration with WNSWLHD and SNSWLHD, as well as rural PHNs, eCARE, which is the electronic program to address health in rural areas.

WSD aims to pilot this program as a research initiative, working with rural LHDs as well as the statewide services. The initiative itself consists of case conferencing, linked healthcare applications through CareMonitor and other services, CGM, and a range of support services for patients and healthcare providers coming online.

WSD aims to run at least 3 pilot services this year, and secure grant funding to run a robust evaluation of the project.