Overview and objectives
This research study aims to describe the health outcomes of all people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Queensland, over time and in relation to patient characteristics, by combining COVID-19 notification, hospital, general practice and death registry data.
General practice patient health information, in comparison to hospital data, contains additional, more detailed and up-to-date information on patient characteristics, including health conditions and medications at the time of infection.
We will be contacting all patients who have or have had COVID-19 and will be inviting them to participate by giving their individual consent.
The novel coronavirus disease, named COVID-19 on 11 February 2020, is caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020. While the number of confirmed cases worldwide and in Australia is reported daily, detailed data on the outcomes of people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, and predictors of outcomes, are still scarce.
Outcomes are likely to vary with context, including according to extensiveness of surveillance and testing, health systems functioning and population characteristics.
Evidence to date has come primarily from China, Italy and the US, countries that are further along in the pandemic than Australia.
Knowledge gaps in relation to COVID-19
There is limited information to date describing patient characteristics associated with outcomes, particularly in respect to the Australian population.
There is substantial variation by age, with younger people generally experiencing milder forms of disease, with a greater proportion of those with severe disease or death being older.
Importantly, these data to date have only been based on hospitalised patients, and do not include all patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the community.
Furthermore, they do not include Australian data. Australian-specific and state-specific data are essential as we continue through the epidemic as outcomes are dependent on a number of region-specific factors including population profile, health system factors and the public health actions taken by individuals and Government.
The main objectives of the ATHENA COVID-19 STUDY are:
- To quantify hospital-based outcomes and deaths, including in relation to sociodemographic characteristics and comorbidities as ascertained from hospital AND general practice data.
- To estimate the strength of association between these outcomes and sociodemographic and health characteristics.
The Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIIRO) of Queensland Health is responsible for consultation, development and review of State-wide research ethics and research governance policies.
HIIRO provides a central portal of contact for Researchers, HHS Human Research Ethics Committee Chairs and Members, Coordinators, Research Governance Offices/rs and study sponsors seeking advice and direction on ethical and governance issues associated with the conduct of research in Queensland Health.
Meet the team
Professor Kim Greaves
(BSc, MD, FACC, FRCP)
Principal Investigator & Project Lead
Professor Greaves is the Director of Cardiac Research and a Senior Staff Specialist in Cardiology at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Queensland. He holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP –UK), Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (FRACP), and completed a Doctor of Medicine in 2007.
Kim has extensive experience and publications in medical research and holds academic appointments as Professor and Associate Professor at the Griffith University, the Australian National University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Sunshine Coast, and the University of Queensland. Professor Greaves is currently focusing on health information sharing for health service planning, delivery and research, and areas of implementation science applicable to cardiovascular disease prevention.
Associate Professor Rosemary Korda
(BAppSc, MAppSc, GradDipPopHlth, PhD)
Principal Investigator and team lead for ANU
Data Analyses Team – Australian National University: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Research School of Population Health
Rosemary Korda is an Associate Professor at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, working in chronic disease epidemiology and health services research. She has extensive experience in the analysis of large-scale complex data, including longitudinal survey data and linked administrative health data.
Current research interests include:
- innovation in use of linked data
- inequalities in cardiovascular disease and healthcare
- unwarranted variation in care; and
- health risks of environmental exposures, including asbestos insulation and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
In addition to her research, she has a major role in curriculum development and teaching in postgraduate population health courses at the ANU and in supervising higher degree research students. She is currently serving as an Expert Member on the Australian Government's Prostheses List Advisory Committee (PLAC).
Dr Zoltan Bourne
(FRACGP, BMed, BSc)
ATHENA COVID-19 Coordination Centre, Team Lead
Dr Zoltan Bourne is the Director and owner, for the past 13 years, of Medicine on Maple - a General Practice located in Maleny on the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. He has been a Supervisor to General Practice Registrars for both RACGP and ACRRM and a Senior Lecturer for the Griffith University School of Medicine.
With a strong commitment to health system reform, he was the inaugural General Practice Liaison Officer for the Medicare Local and PHN where he strongly advocated for the introduction of HealthPathways and the Queensland Health General Practice Smart Referral.
More recently, Zoltan has worked with Prof Kim Greaves on the General Practice Data Linkage ‘proof of concept study’ which successfully progressed to ‘The ATHENA study’ and now ‘The ATHENA COVID-19 study. Dr Bourne contributes expert advice to the project and will lead the ATHENA COVID-19 Coordination centre team.