Data sources

National Perinatal Data Collection

The National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) is a national population-based cross-sectional collection of data on pregnancy and childbirth. The data are based on births reported to the perinatal data collection in each state and territory in Australia. Midwives and other birth attendants, using information obtained from mothers and from hospital or other records, complete notification forms for each birth. A standard de-identified extract is provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on an annual basis to form the NPDC.

Detailed information on completeness, accuracy and other aspects of data quality for the National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) is in the data quality statement.

National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection

Scope

The National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection (NPMDC) is a population-based cross-sectional collection of data regarding the deaths of babies in hospitals and in the community, and includes all neonatal deaths and stillbirths of a baby at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birthweight, during pregnancy, birth or within 28 days of birth.

The NPMDC commenced with the 2013 birth cohort and builds on information collected in the NPDC. Common identifier fields in the NPDC and NPMDC allow demographic information regarding perinatal death records in the NPMDC to be retrieved from the NPDC for reporting.

There are 33 voluntary data items collected in the NPMDC which are supplied by state and territory health authorities using a standard de-identified extract to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on an annual basis. Data specifications supplied to jurisdictions for collection are in included in the supplementary tables.

Detailed information on completeness, accuracy and other aspects of data quality for the NPMDC is in the data quality statement.

Data timeliness

The NPMDC data cannot be finalised for a calendar year until all Jurisdictional Mortality Review Committee reports that apply to that period are complete. Jurisdictions coordinate and facilitate data collection procedures from service providers and the updating of records.

NPMDC data for 2016 was requested from states and territories on 19 April 2018 for submission to the AIHW by 31 May 2018. Data were received from 5 jurisdictions by this date. Data suppliers in some jurisdictions have given feedback that a request for data 17 months after the end of the collection period is unachievable as some data (particularly pertaining to PSANZ classification codes and contributory factors) are still waiting to be compiled at this stage.

Timelines for reporting perinatal deaths 2016 data are outlined in Figure 1. The NPMDC data for 2015 and 2016 was finalised and reported 2.5 years after the end of the 2016 calendar year. The AIHW are working on a number of strategies to improve the timeliness of data publication and have a goal of finalising national data and reporting within 2 years. Current strategies for improving timeliness include:

  • Changing the presentation of publically available data by adding online annual updates of data and interactive tables and figures to our biannual reporting schedule.
  • Improving the timeliness of the receipt of NPMDC data. The AIHW hope to shorten the time between the end of the collection period and the reporting of data to approximately 18–20 months. For 2017 data, jurisdictions will begin to supply data through the AIHW's Validata system, web-based application that enables states and territories to upload their data to a secure website and have it automatically checked for mistakes before they submit data to the AIHW. Data submitters can upload data several times, until the data is correct, and submit for initial approval by the AIHW.

Figure 1: Months since the end of the 2016 calendar period and public reporting of National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection, by jurisdictionFigure 1 shows the number of months from the end of the 2016 calendar year to the reporting of the 2016 data, by jurisdiction. the figure highlights two jurisdictions taking 25 months to supply AIHW with the 2016 perinatal mortality data, and one jurisdiction taking 9 months.