Data development

Primary Health Care Data Development

Nationally consistent primary health care data is a known information gap for effective population health monitoring, research, policy, and planning. The AIHW is committed to a work program that aims to fill this gap by developing processes for the governance, standardisation, collection, analysis and reporting of primary health care data within Australia. This work will ultimately form a National Primary Health Care Data Collection (NPHCDC).

Strong foundations to support the input and extraction of primary health care data is essential to inform evidence-based decisions about the delivery of primary health care in Australia. The Strengthening Medicare Taskforce report notes that investment in a nationally consistent data collection has the potential to lift the performance of the whole health system through the enabling of targeted interventions that will ultimately deliver better health outcomes.

The vision for and value of the NPHCDC is that it will:

  • fill existing data and information gaps relating to primary health care
  • be an accessible and value-added source of information for policy makers, researchers and the public, and support the evidence base underpinning research and policy, including primary health care reform
  • be enduring, secure, protective of data integrity, and include coherent and relevant analytical and reporting outputs that are underpinned by transparent data governance and standards
  • enable data linkage, analysis and outcome reporting and be inclusive and reflective of the breadth of primary health care data and practice.

The initial scope of the NPHCDC will be the collection, analysis and reporting of general practice data, with a view to develop and incorporate broader primary health care data, including nursing and allied health, into the collection as soon as practicable.

Ongoing close engagement with stakeholders from federal and state/territory governments, Primary Health Networks (PHNs), general practice, allied health, professional bodies, research organisations, software vendors and health consumers will ensure the value and utility of the NPHCDC in the broader primary health care data environment.

Importantly, the NPHCDC will not attempt to duplicate existing data collections and reporting or compete with established governance arrangements. The AIHW aims to use existing frameworks, infrastructure and governance processes, and will align with existing standards to ensure comparability and interoperability.