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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows improvements against a range of national key performance indicators (nKPIs) for primary health care organisations providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The report, National key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results from December 2014, is the 3rd in a series of reports, and presents information from 233 organisations.

The report provides information for 21 indicators comprising 27 key measures, focussed on maternal and child health, preventative health and chronic disease management. Data have been collected over 6 reporting periods between June 2012 and December 2014.

Nineteen of the 27 measures look at primary healthcare organisations' processes-of-care, which assess whether clients have received relevant tests or had their risk factor status recorded. These are largely under the control of organisations, so can be used to assess the organisations' performance.

'Our report shows improvements in 17 out of the 19 process-of-care measures across all organisations,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.

In December 2014, birthweight had been recorded for 69% of babies, information had been recorded on smoking status for 78% of clients, alcohol consumption for 55% and adult health checks for 44%. Among clients with type 2 diabetes, 50% received Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) GP management plan and 47% an MBS team care arrangement.

Better results were recorded for a number of health outcome measures: of the clients with type 2 diabetes, 35% had a good HbA1c (haemoglobin A1c-an indicator of long-term diabetes control) result in the previous 6 months, 44% had a blood pressure result in the normal range, and 81% had good kidney function result.

The report also looked at a subset of 192 organisations that reported data over 4 reporting periods. They showed significant improvements in many process-of-care indicators.

For example, 79% organisations had 'Smoking status recorded' which showed an increase of 5.8 percentage points, on average, every 6 months, 'MBS health assessments-adults aged 25 and over' increased by 2.7 percentage points to reach 44% and 'General Practitioner Management Plan-clients with type 2 diabetes' increased by 2.5 percentage points to reach 54%.

Some improvements were seen on health outcome measures for this subset of organisations. For example, there were declines in the proportion of low birthweight babies from 14% to 12% and current smokers from 54% to 52% between June 2013 and December 2014.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 29 October

Further information: Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1146, mob. 0407 068 033

Full publication: National key performance indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care: results from December 2014