Symposium to examine the 'common language' of health

23 June 2011

The University of Sydney will next week hold a symposium titled 'Think Before You Measure' which brings together Australian and international experts to discuss the basic concepts, definitions and classifications that form the building blocks of our understanding of health. What do we measure? How do we measure? Why do we measure? Do we measure the same thing?

"Diseases, functioning and disability, medicines and health interventions are all described using health classifications," says Dr Bedirhan Ustun, Coordinator of the WHO work on classifications, terminologies and standards, and a keynote speaker at the Symposium.

"The World Health Organisation leads a worldwide effort to develop and maintain up-to-date classifications across the entire health system in order to provide an international framework which governments, providers and consumers can use as a common language."

This system allows for consensus and coordinated responses - for example the H1N1 pandemic was classified the same way across the globe within 3 days - and most importantly has significant implications for policy development and improved health outcomes worldwide.

"It is even more important to establish the common language and measures in the computer age; otherwise we will end up with an electronic tower of Babel," comments Dr Ustun.

The Symposium, led by the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences, will be the first time all classifications schemes are brought together for academic discussion in a public symposium.

International and Australian speakers will talk about current developments and applications within this field such as; care and funding models for rehabilitation, eligibility for services, and new developments in the 'family' of classifications, including those for health interventions, patient safety and traditional medicine.

"New developments in health and community services systems require renewed effort to apply these basic building blocks of information to policy and practice in order to meet the information needs of diverse stakeholders and to underpin evidence based practice in the health, rehabilitation and the disability field," says Dean of Health Sciences, Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn.

"We are immensely pleased to be able to welcome leading experts to the University to engage in these discussions."


Limited places are still available for the Symposium which will be held at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 29 - Thursday 30 June.

Where:New Law School Building, Camperdown Campus.
Bookings: Visit the Think Before You Measure Symposium website to register.

Associated event: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Towards ICD-11 for Australia

Contact: Conference Secretariat

Email: 57261a270e292006523f0a2f2900495606063f6c032d1b44173e13