Three emergency department staff

Research Events

Research Events

COVIDTHON: Making Data Meaningful

25 and 26 March, 2023

Jump on the opportunity to access data and find solutions to real world health problems. 

The COVIDTHON aims to facilitate the exploration of COVID-related research questions in a datathon event format, stimulating ongoing research activity in this area. 


Event objectives:

  • Bring together teams of senior and junior clinicians and data scientists to explore person-linked aggegrated, statewide standard data sets and data repositories.
  • Expose researchers to a large amount of health record data for research exploratory purposes in an event setting, while maintaining the security of the data and anonymity of patient's identity in the records. 
  • Effectively query the combined datasets during the event to find preliminary answers to the research questions below, and display summary data on preliminary findings. 
  • Evaluate the COVIDTHON impact on short and longer term COVID-related research by participants.


Priority focus areas and a snapshot of the research questions

Disease incidence in the Loddon Mallee region

  • A snapshot of COVID in the Loddon Mallee (LM) and LGAs over time. 
  • How did these rates/proportion vary with other areas of Victoria?
  • What were the key risk factors for COVID infection and severe outcome in the LM and LGAs over time? First wave, second wave; Omicron, winter 2022. 
  • Over time, where were the outbreaks?
  • How did the mortality rates in the LM compare with mortality rates across the state?
  • Was having experienced one outbreak a protective factor in experiencing another (time elapsed between first and second outbreaks, where a facility has had more than one)?


Regional access and equity

  • What were the outcomes in terms of morbidity, mortality and severity of illness for COVID patients in the LM compared to those in other regional or metropolitan areas?
  • What proportion are affected by long COVID in the LM region?
  • What proportion of eligible patients accessed antivirals?
  • What proportion of clases were in CALD populations, and did those numbers improve post-intervention?


An evaluation of the impact of COVID Positive Pathways

  • Did COVID Positive Pathways improve the quality of care received in the LM region?
  • What was the impact of COVID Positive Pathways on case numbers in the LM region?
  • What were the outcomes for patients in the different pathways?
  • What was the impact of COVID Positive Pathways on severe disease, hospitalisation and mortality in the LM region?
  • Did COVID Positive Pathways help prevent COVID at a population level in the LM region?
  • How well did the COVID Positive Pathways triage process work at different times during the response in terms of patient outcomes/reach? (i.e. first wave, second wave, Omicron, with the introduction of RATs and self-reported symptoms)


Impact of vaccination in the Loddon Mallee region

  • How did the vaccination program impact the LM, when compared with other regional and metropolitan areas?
  • What proportion of those hospitalised for COVID in LM were vaccinated?
  • What proportion of people presenting to hospital with severe illness (ICU, ventilation) had received an approved vaccine?
  • What proportion of those in more rural and remote areas of the LM were vaccinated?


Outcomes include preliminary answers to data queries based on the research questions above to inform ongoing viable and meaningful research activity aimed at better health outcomes.

Registration & additional information

To become involved, complete the EOI form at

Applications close Friday 24 February. 

The COVIDTHON will be held at the La Trobe Rural Health School Clinical Teaching Building, 109 Arnold Street, Bendigo VIC 3550. 

For inquiries, please contact [email protected]


This project has made an application to the Bendigo Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and obtained approval to be conducted and meets all requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles.




Contact Us


100 Barnard Street, Bendigo, VIC, 3550


03 5454 6000


[email protected]