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Identifying the Indigenous status of people accessing health services helps Close the Gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
It improves national health data and, in the general practice sector, helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access Indigenous-specific health measures designed to overcome the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Most of these measures are accessed through general practitioners.
The AIHW plays a leadership role in improving Indigenous identification. It:
NIDISC (AIHW National Indigenous Data Improvement Support Centre) helpdesk: Telephone: 1800 223 919 Email:
The general practice sector is different from many other health sectors. It not only collects Indigenous status for data collections, it provides access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific health measures.
But collection of Indigenous status of patients in general practice, and access to Indigenous-specific health measures, is low. Our report, Taking the next steps: identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in general practice, explains this problem and current efforts to improve both data collection and service delivery.
Making changes to the software used in general practice has been identified as a key way to improve:
The AIHW has developed the working paper General practice software model to support best practice in Indigenous health care (261KB PDF) to raise awareness of these issues and help improve general practice software. We welcome input to the working paper by phone: 1800 223 919 or email:
Points to note:
Practices participating in the Practice Incentive Program Indigenous Health Incentive can also register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for chronic disease management (see Indigenous Health Incentive guidelines).
Despite the health benefit offered by Indigenous-specific health measures, nearly 80% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not have an Indigenous specific annual health check (MBS 715) in 2013-14.
The Indigenous health check data tool aims to increase awareness and uptake of the health check among providers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The tool is a dynamic data display showing the number and usage rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific health checks. See the Indigenous health check (MBS 715) data tool webpage.