Primary health care data development

The National Primary Health Care Data Asset

Primary health care is a vital component of Australia’s health care system accounting for a large proportion of health care expenditure annually. It is often the first point of contact individuals have with the health system and encompasses a broad range of professions and services. Despite this, there is limited availability of primary health care system data making it difficult to assess the positive impact of this sector on the health of Australians and or identify where improvements are needed.

In the May 2018 Federal Budget the AIHW was funded to establish a Primary Health Care Data Unit and to develop a National Primary Health Care Data Asset (Data Asset). The Data Asset development aligns with priorities outlined in the 2018 Heads of Agreement on public hospital funding and health reform; specifically Enhanced health data as one of the goals of long-term system wide reform.

It is envisaged that an enduring Data Asset will contain reliable, detailed, high-quality data about primary health care which will assist in the creation of a comprehensive understanding of the system and a patient’s journey and experiences within it. It has the potential to create new avenues of analysis for providers, policy-makers and healthcare researchers to enable better population health planning, help identify gaps in primary health care services and ultimately improve patient health outcomes. The process of establishing the Data Asset will also be used to drive cyclical improvements in the quality and standardisation of contributing data.

The proposed Data Asset will:

  • enable better population health planning
  • support improved patient health outcomes, and enable comparison across geography, remoteness and socio-economic gradients
  • enable and inform integrated care
  • help identify gaps in primary health care services and outcomes
  • enable an assessment of the equitable distribution of care
  • shape primary health care programs and policies
  • allow for international comparisons.

The AIHW is currently in the consultation phase of this multi-phase project. An exposure draft of the Data Development Plan for the Data Asset has been developed following consultation across relevant government committees and is now exposed publicly to gather comprehensive and considered input from the broader community.

Interested parties are invited to make a submission by Sunday 28 July 2019 via the AIHW Consultation Hub.

Contact information:

AIHW Primary Health Care Data Unit

Phone: (02) 6244 1000


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