Wong, Oi Ling Irene

Scientific Officer

Division of Health Economics, Policy and Management

  • BSc, MPhil, MMedSc, PHD(HK)

Dr Irene Wong obtained her PhD from the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong. She also holds an MPhil in Statistics and a master's degree in Medical Sciences. Her primary research is in health policy, health economics and chronic disease management, with a particular focus on disease risk prediction and the evaluation of public health and clinical interventions for cancer prevention and control. She has published widely in the field of public health science and covered topics such as cost-effectiveness analysis, disease burden and projection study, social epidemiology and income inequality, the ecology of health care, and healthcare utilization patterns.

Earlier in her career Dr Wong developed and validated with her collaborators a clinical prediction rule for diagnosing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the Emergency Department of Hong Kong during the 2003 SARS epidemic. Since then, she has conducted research projects related to breast cancer disease burden and breast cancer screening, and contributed to debates about related health policies in Hong Kong. By using statistical and decision analytic models, her work has contributed to the understanding of the public health impact and cost-effectiveness of population preventive strategies and of alternative treatment interventions for breast cancer.

In terms of contributions to public health policies, Dr Wong is overseeing an epidemiological study commissioned by the Hong Kong SAR Government on risk factors for breast cancer and risk prediction in the Chinese population. Dr Wong has played an important role in conceptualizing the study design and using statistical modeling for epidemiological analyses. Engaging both public and private sectors, the study is expected to cover thousands of patients and will result in the first population-scale biobank in Hong Kong for breast cancer patients. Dr Wong is also involved in another Government’s commissioned study on the evaluation of the health and health care impact of Hong Kong’s pilot colorectal cancer screening programme.

Besides the above, Dr Wong leads multi-disciplinary economic evaluation studies, including h. pylori screening and vaccination for gastric cancer prevention and control, and evaluation of computer-assisted tumor surgery for patients with bone tumors with the goal of enhancing current surgical practice and patient care. She also works on developing and evaluating decision aids for breast cancer screening among Hong Kong Chinese women, with the aim of helping women make informed decisions concerning their own breast cancer screening. Her other projects cover the areas of evaluation of early years education and economic analysis of diabetes care management.

In recognition of her research contributions to mammography screening policies for breast cancer among Chinese women, Dr Wong received the Excellent Research Award (Health and Health Services Research) from the Food and Health Bureau, Hong Kong in 2010.

Knowledge Exchange Project: Breast cancer screening - Think before you screen

Selected Publications
  1. Leung WK, Wong IOL, Cheung KS, Yeung KF, Chan EW, Wong AY, Chen L, Wong IC, Graham DY. Effects of Helicobacter PYLORI treatment on incidence of gastric cancer in older individuals. Gastroenterology 2018
  2. Mak LY, Ng SC, Wong IOL, Li KK, Lo FH, Wong, M, Leung, CM, Tsang S, Chan KH, Sze SF, Shan E, Lam B, Hui AJ, Hung, IFN, Leung WK. Direct health care cost utilization in Hong Kong inflammatory bowel disease patients in the initial 2 years following diagnosis. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2018; 33(1):141-149
  3. Liu KSH, Wong IOL, Leung WK. Helicobacter pylori associated gastric intestinal metaplasia: treatment and surveillance. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2016; 22(3):1311-1320
  4. Wong IOL*, Lam WWT, Wong CN, Cowling BJ, Leung GM, Fielding R. Towards informed decisions on breast cancer screening: Development and pilot testing of a decision aid for Chinese women. Patient Education and Counseling 2015; 98: 961-969 (*corresponding author)
  5. Wong IOL*, Cowling BJ, Schooling CM, Leung GM. Breast cancer incidence and mortality in a transitioning Chinese population: current and future trends. British Journal of Cancer 2015; 112:167-170 (*corresponding author)
  6. Wong IOL*, Tsang JWH, Cowling BJ, Leung GM. Optimizing resource allocation for breast cancer prevention and care among Hong Kong Chinese women. Cancer 2012; 118(8):4394-4403 (*corresponding author)
  7. Wong IOL*, Cowling BJ, Lo SV, Leung GM. A multilevel analysis of the effects of neighbourhood income inequality on individual self-rated health in Hong Kong. Social Science and Medicine 2009;68:124-132. (*corresponding author)
  8. Wong IOL, Kuntz KM, Cowling BJ, Lam CLK, Leung GM. Cost-effectiveness of mammography screening for Chinese women. Cancer 2007;110:885-895.
  9. Leung GM, Wong IOL, Chan WS, Choi S, Lo SV on behalf of the Health Care Financing Study Group. The ecology of health care in Hong Kong. Social Science and Medicine 2005;61:577-590.
  10. Leung GM, Rainer TH, Lau FL, Wong IOL, Tong A, Wong TW, Kong JHB, Hedley AJ, Lam TH, for Hospital Authority SARS Collaborative Group (HASCOG). A clinical prediction rule to identify emergency room attendees with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) during an outbreak. Annals of Internal Medicine 2004;141:333-342.