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Who we are

The AIHW is a major national agency producing independent, relevant and reliable health and welfare information and statistics to support better decisions, leading to better health and wellbeing for Australians. The AIHW informs policy development and public discussion by producing reports, datasets and other products—adding to the evidence base that is critical to good policy making and effective service delivery.

We report on nearly 50 different health and welfare topics in addition to our flagship publications Australia’s health and Australia’s welfare. We make our data, information and analytical products available widely, in accessible formats, and currently release over 180 reports or information products annually.

We can carry out all aspects of the information life cycle related to health and welfare data: developing national data standards and data sets; conducting surveys and other data collection activities; linking data, analysing it, and writing objective and independent reports that are valued and respected by governments and the community.

In the interests of independence and transparency, our work is released to the public—while also protecting individual privacy.

We have around 300 expert statistical, administrative and communications staff in Canberra, plus a small contingent in Sydney. We are backed by numerous data holdings, unmatched knowledge of the health and welfare sectors in Australia, robust governance arrangements, strong privacy and confidentiality controls, state-of-the-art business processes and infrastructure, and access to a network of government, research, education and private sector collaborators from around Australia.

Our services

The kinds of projects we can undertake for you include:

  • researching, writing and publishing innovative health and welfare reports and other web and print outputs—drawing on a range of reputable data sources, including unpublished statistical information from our own data holdings
  • developing national statistical standards and classifications, and registering these in our award-winning metadata repository, METeOR
  • designing and undertaking complex data linkage projects
  • building and managing information clearinghouses, disease registers and similar databases
  • producing local-level data, including performance reporting through the MyHospitals and MyHealthyCommunities websites
  • building the evidence base for Indigenous health and welfare policy development
  • curating national and jurisdictional data and facilitating researcher access
  • providing data and analysis to support the review or evaluation of health and welfare programs or policies
  • providing data and support for analysing and modelling the impact of proposed health and welfare policy initiatives or changes to programs or services
  • providing customised data analysis.

Our fees

Our fees are based on standard Government cost recovery principles, and are highly competitive with other consulting and research organisations. We are always happy to discuss charges with potential clients.

Our reputation

We enjoy national and international recognition for our statistical expertise, and as the nation's premier source of data on health, welfare and housing assistance.

In addition to our skills in data management, analysis, presentation and reporting, our clients value our independence and integrity, our understanding of health and welfare issues, and our strong ethical standards and privacy protections.

We are also well respected for our ability to promote and achieve consistency among national, and state and territory statistics.

Our advantages

Accountability and independence

As an independent statutory entity we are accountable to the Australian Parliament, and are governed by a Board comprising independent and government members.

The Board is subject to the general oversight of the Minister for Health, who may direct our work only following consultation with the states and territories, as set out in the AIHW Act.

The AIHW Director, under broad guidance from the Board, is responsible for the day-to-day management of the AIHW to ensure delivery against its mission..

Governance, privacy and confidentiality

We manage data professionally, with due respect for its sensitivity, and with privacy and confidentiality assured through legislation, rigorous data policies and procedures, and the scrutiny of a legally-constituted and independent Ethics Committee.

The AIHW is bound by two sets of confidentiality and privacy requirements—those contained in the Privacy Act 1998 and those contained in section 29 of the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare Act 1987 (AIHW Act).

The Privacy Act establishes obligations on all private and public sector organisations for collecting, using or disclosing personal information.

Section 29 of the AIHW Act places very strong protections on the release of information concerning individuals and organisations. The AIHW cannot be forced to divulge such information, even by a court of law. The AIHW Act also recognises that AIHW must comply with written terms and conditions imposed by data providers.

Refer also to our Data Governance—in-brief brochure (296KB PDF) that contains more information about the AIHW's robust data governance arrangements.

Reliability and productivity

Our reliability and productivity are second to none, with over 3,000 reports produced in the nearly 30 years since our establishment.

We are currently producing over 180 reports and other web-based outputs annually.

Collaboration

We collaborate with data providers and experts from around Australia, including Commonwealth, state and territory agencies responsible for health, housing, family and community services; universities and research centres; expert advisory committees; and peak non-government organisations; and we work closely with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Data holdings

Our health and welfare data holdings are substantial. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has named 10 AIHW-held data sets among its list of 74 Essential Statistical Assets for Australia. The 10 essential assets held by AIHW cover fields as diverse as housing assistance, homelessness, perinatal health, disability, cancer, hospitals and hospital activity, alcohol and other drugs, and mortality.

Skills

Our highly competent staff have contemporary skills and knowledge in:

  • information needs for health and welfare policy, planning and service delivery
  • statistical methodologies and analysis, including data linkage, validation, modelling and micro-simulation
  • epidemiology, demography, psychology and sociology
  • data and metadata development and management
  • communications, specialising in health and welfare information and online reporting.

 Nearly 9 in 10 AIHW staff in statistical areas are degree-qualified, with half of those staff also having postgraduate qualifications.

Data integration

We are increasingly being recognised for our leadership and expertise in data integration (also known as data linkage). We are one of only three agencies in Australia accredited to link sensitive Commonwealth data sets.

Data linkage provides strong value-for-money for clients because it uses existing data sets to gain new insights into health and welfare determinants and risks, health and wellbeing throughout life, and the use of health, housing and community services.

Data linkage work could provide new information on the importance of education, employment and housing to achieving good health, and, in turn, self-reliance. The data could highlight critical points where support or intervention would have the most benefit.

Refer also to our Data linkage services for clients brochure (1.9MB PDF) that contains more information about the AIHW's data linkage services for clients.

Products

We produce clear, readable reports for a range of stakeholders, as well as other products that provide a sophisticated level of informed analysis. The 500-page Australia's health 2016, for example, adopts an approach to reporting based on light touch' snapshots and more comprehensive feature articles on topics of current policy interest, backed by in-text links to more detail, and an Ozhealth app for iOS and Android devices.

For most data collections—such as for hospitals, cancer, and juvenile justice—we produce a mix of products, including user-friendly summary publications and web snapshots, comprehensive statistical reports, and data available as downloadable spreadsheets or as interactive data access and visualisation services with build-your-own table and graph facilities.

In addition to reports on specific subjects, our data holdings and data integration capabilities enable us to produce thematic reports linking material from several different subject areas. Such reports can yield new insights that can in turn lead to new policies and practices.

Another example of our innovative work is Validata™, a time-saving online data receipt and validation product/tool developed at the Institute. Validata™ can quickly pick up anomalies and unlikely occurrences in supplied data, and is now progressively being extended across AIHW data collections and to some of our data providers.

Our record

Outputs

We publish over 180 outputs each year, ranging from comprehensive national reports to technical documents and guides, to innovative web-based products. As required by the Parliament, our flagship reports, Australia's health and Australia's welfare, are published in alternate years.

We have an expanding range of specialist satellite websites and services, including for mental health services, specialist homelessness services and Indigenous health and welfare. We are increasingly using interactive data visualisation services across our sites. A number of our datasets are also available on data.gov.au.

Several interactive health and welfare data sets are publicly available on our website, and we have produced 3 apps available for free download—Ozhealth, Ozwelfare and Indigenous info.

Robust and reliable data and evidence

We play a central role in developing performance indicators for national performance reporting in health, ageing, early childhood, education, housing and homelessness, disability care and closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

In recent years we developed the Specialist Homelessness Services data collection, including an online data collection portal and client management tool.

We are also continuing to work with the Department of Health to develop the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse for policymakers, researchers and consumers. In a similar vein, for many years we have operated the National Cancer Statistics Clearinghouse, in collaboration with Cancer Australia and the Australasian Association of Cancer Registries.

We have also been custodians of the National Hospital Statistics databases for nearly 30 years.

Data integration

We work with state data linkage units to bring together Commonwealth and State health and community services data for a range of projects.

We have developed linking techniques between residential aged care data sets and hospital care data sets to reveal new information about transitions between the two types of services for people who have had aged care assessments.

Similarly, we have been able to link data on child protection, juvenile justice and homelessness to explore patterns of behaviour and service use. A further use of child protection data linked with National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results allowed us to break new ground exploring the academic performance of children in out-of-home care.

We also work closely with researchers. The AIHW undertook the data linkage for a large project led by University of Melbourne researchers examining the long-term effects of low dose radiation from computed tomography (CT) and have worked closely with Victoria to identify the best pathways of care for people with colo-rectal or breast cancer.

Health and welfare surveys

Some of the larger survey-based collections that we have undertaken include the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, the Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, the National Social Housing Survey and the National Prisoner Health Data Collection.

Health and welfare data standards

The AIHW manages Australia's national health, community services and housing assistance metadata items and standards through METeOR, our award-winning online metadata registry.

Contact us

For further information on how we can provide products and services for your organisation, please phone the Institute on (02) 6244 1000 or email

Customised data analysis

If you are looking for statistics that are not available in publications or supplementary tables, data cubes or data visualisations, we also offer a data request service. Customised tables can be provided, subject to data quality and confidentiality requirements, from a range of AIHW-held databases. Please note that a fee may apply for this service.

Telephone

(02) 6244 1000

International callers, please use
+61 2 6244 1000.

Facsimile

(02) 6244 1299

Post

AIHW
GPO Box 570
Canberra ACT 2601
Australia

Visit

1 Thynne Street
Fern Hill Park
Bruce ACT 2617
Australia