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released: 8 Apr 2010 updated: 16 May 2013 author: AIHW

All clients of health services should be asked if they are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in the process of routine data collection. Despite improvements in recent years, there have been continuing problems in establishing and maintaining standard practice in the collection of Indigenous status, resulting in the under-identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in key national health data sets. These guidelines have been developed to ensure the standard Indigenous status question is asked correctly and consistently of all clients of health services, and that this information is correctly recorded. Limit of 5 copies.

ISBN 978 1 74024 998 0; Cat. no. IHW 29; 32pp.; FREE - Order from nidisc@aihw.gov.au

Full publication

Publication table of contents

Notes and corrections

The current version of the publication is presented in the publication tab. Previous versions of files that have been updated or corrected are presented below.

  1. (23 August 2010) The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services NMDS was included in the original publication (pg5) in error, as a hospital-based national data collection to which these guidelines apply. While these guidelines may be relevant to data collection practices in alcohol and other drug treatment services, the AODTS NMDS is not a hospital-based data collection. 
  2. (8 February 2011) Minor text error corrected on page 22 of report.
  3. (19 June 2012) Minor change to table on page 10, relating to coding responses to the Indigenous status question.
    The response where ‘No is ticked and either or both Yes, Aboriginal, and Yes, Torres Strait Islander are ticked’ has been amended to coding category 9: ‘Not stated/inadequately described’.
  4. (16 May 2013) Minor changes are to the AIHW link on p. iii & p6 and removing a footnote on p.5. 
    Previous version - National best practice guidelines for collecting Indigenous status in health data sets (PDF)

Recommended citation

AIHW 2010. National best practice guidelines for collecting Indigenous status in health data sets. Cat. no. IHW 29. Canberra: AIHW.