Follow-up rates

This section looks at the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who received an Indigenous-specific follow-up service within 12 months of an Indigenous-specific health check. This includes information on:

See Box 3 for key notes about the method used, including data limitations.

Box 3: Calculating rates of follow-up: method and limitations 

One outcome of an Indigenous-specific health check (MBS item 715) can be referral for Indigenous-specific follow-up services under Indigenous-specific MBS items 10987, and 81300–81360. This report looks at the proportion of Indigenous Australians who receive one of these follow-up items within 12 months of their health check.  

An overview of the method used to calculate rates of health checks, including key limitations, is described in this Box. See Data sources and notes for additional information.

Calculating rates

Rates were calculated using the total number of people who had an Indigenous-specific health check as the denominator, while the numerator was people who received an Indigenous-specific follow-up within 12 months of a health check. For example, for 2016–17 data:

  • the denominator was people who received an Indigenous-specific health check between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017
  • the numerator was people who received an Indigenous-specific health check between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 and received a follow-up within 12 months of the health check (which could occur anytime between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018, depending on the date of the health check)
  • the rate was calculated as the numerator divided by the denominator and multiplied by 100. 

Limitations

Key limitations of the analysis include:

  • no information is available from the MBS data set on the outcomes of a health check, and so it is not known how many people actually require follow-up care. Not all Indigenous Australians who have a health check will need follow-up services. Consequently, variation in follow-up rates (for example, by age group or geographic regions), may partly reflect differences in health status and need for follow-up care. 
  • the data relate only to Indigenous-specific follow-up items provided by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, practice nurse, or allied health professional (MBS items 10987, 81300–81360; see also Box 2). Indigenous Australians may receive other MBS-rebated services after a health check that are also available to non-Indigenous patients.