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Australia’s health 2018: in brief presents highlights from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 16th biennial report on the nation’s health.
Australia’s health 2018: in brief is a companion report to Australia’s health 2018.
On an average day 406,000 visits are made to a general practitioner (GP)
63% of Australians aged 18 and over are overweight or obese
More than 4 in 5 Australians aged 15 and over rated their health as ‘excellent’, ‘very good’ or ‘good’ in 2014–15
Around 45% of Australians aged 16–85 will experience a mental illness in their life
Australians have access to high quality information in many areas of health, which enables us to better understand health behaviours, actions and outcomes, and to identify possible areas for improvement.
Further, the health information and data environment is changing rapidly, with increasing demand for the collection, reporting and use of health data. However, there are considerable information gaps, and some of the information that is collected could be used more effectively. There is also a strong need for a strategic approach to planning and managing national health data assets.
One of the AIHW’s roles is to identify areas where health data could be improved—these gaps are highlighted in the ‘What is missing from the picture?’ sections throughout Australia’s health 2018 and they often relate to the:
Health data can be collected for a variety of reasons. For a patient admitted to hospital, the primary reason may be to monitor their progress so that they can get the care that they need. The data can also be used for ‘secondary’ reasons. For example, to:
The value of data rises when individual data sets are linked to create a new, more detailed data set that can tell a much more powerful story than would be possible from a single data source. Data linkage can improve our understanding of health outcomes, patient pathways and the links between health and welfare.
The increasing availability of data comes with obligations to securely store public data and to protect individual privacy. In Australia there are many arrangements to ensure these obligations are met. As more data becomes available (and potentially linked), such measures will become increasingly important.
Find out more: Chapter 1.6 ‘What is missing from the picture?’ and 2.5 ‘Secondary use of health information’ in Australia’s health 2018.
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