Primary health care forms an integral part of the Australian health care system, yet high quality and reliable data is limited. This has made it difficult to assess system performance with the same rigour as applied for hospital care which, in turn, makes it difficult to identify and monitor areas where improvements are needed. Limited data also restricts the ability to examine return on investment for government.
The Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PHCAG) reported to the Australian Government in 2015 and outlined a strategic direction of ‘nationally consistent aggregated data’ that can be ‘used at a national and regional level to target health resources and interventions, leading to improved population health and health system outcomes’.
In the May 2018 Federal Budget the AIHW was appropriated to establish a Primary Health Care Data Unit and to develop a National Primary Health Care Data Asset. This Data Asset will support the reporting of key primary health care indicators, resulting in a better understanding of patient outcomes, from diagnosis, treatment and experiences within the healthcare system.
The AIHW is beginning a multi-phase project with the aim of developing a National Primary Health Care Data Asset (Data Asset). This will be a repository of detailed and selected high-quality data about primary health care to increase knowledge about the services delivered and their associated costs and benefits. The process of establishing the repository will also be used to drive improvements in the quality and standardisation of data in the collections it draws on.
The AIHW has experience and expertise in end-to-end data services including data development and data governance that make the organisation well-placed to lead development of the Data Asset.
The proposed Data Asset will:
This Data Asset will support the reporting of key primary health care indicators, resulting in a better understanding of the patient’s journey and experiences within the healthcare system, including their reason for an encounter with a clinician, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.
In the medium term GP-specific data from the following sources will be considered:
In the long-term, sources may include pathology data and diagnostic imaging data.
New and developing data sources, such as patient reported experience measures (PREMs) and patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) data, will also be considered.
The AIHW has identified key stakeholder groups who are of importance in the development of the Data Asset:
Figure 1 outlines the three phases of the AIHW’s stakeholder engagement plan. We are currently in the Discovery and Drafting phases, working towards the implementation of a data development plan.
AIHW Primary Health Care Data Unit
Phone: (02) 6244 1000
Email: [email protected]
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