On 1 July 2015, the Australian Government established Primary Health Networks (PHNs) with the aim to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health services, and to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Six key priorities for PHNs to target for improvement are mental health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, population health, health workforce, eHealth and aged care (Department of Health 2015).
The 31 PHNs replaced the previous 61 Medicare Locals. PHNs are aligned with Local Hospital Networks to enhance the management of patients with complex or chronic conditions between the primary health care and hospital systems. PHNs work directly with general practitioners, other primary health care providers, secondary care providers, hospitals, and the broader community, aiming to ensure better outcomes for patients.
PHNs are required to select, periodically review and revise local performance measures that support achievement of PHN national priorities. In addition to this performance monitoring and reporting, health- and welfare-related data may also assist PHNs with population health planning. Examples of data that could be potentially used for these purposes are listed below.
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