Goal 15: Health checks—people aged 55 and over

This indicator reports on the rate of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item 715 health checks among Indigenous adults aged 55 and over. The goal for this indicator is 74% by 2023.

Why is it important?

Early detection is the discovery of a disease or condition at an early stage of its development or onset, usually before symptoms occur. In Australia, primary health care providers, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and GPs, have a key role in early detection and early treatment programs. Early detection and treatment programs are most effective when there are systematic approaches to ensuring assessment and screening occurs regularly and at recommended intervals.

What data are available?

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are eligible for an annual Indigenous-specific health check, namely item 715 on the MBS. Administrative data are available on the number of MBS item 715 health checks for which a claim has been processed by Medicare Australia.

What do the data show?

Progress towards the goal is not on track. While the rate of health checks among Indigenous adults aged 55 and over has increased over time, the rates in the 4 years from 2014–15 to 2017-18 were below the trajectory points required to meet the goal for 2023. In 2017–18, the required trajectory point was 51%, compared with an actual rate of 43%.

In 2017-18, 37,096 health checks were provided for Indigenous adults aged 55 and over. Indigenous females aged 55 and over were more likely than males of this age to have received a health check (46% compared with 40%).

The rate of health checks among Indigenous adults aged 55 and over varied by jurisdiction—ranging from 28% in Victoria to 54% in Queensland in 2017–18.