This document provides a background to defining and measuring National Health Priority Area (NHPA) indicators for asthma. The issues surrounding the selection, operational definition and measurement of indicators for asthma are presented. The report incorporates the views of stakeholders who were consulted in the development process through workshops around Australia. The material contained in this document was the starting point for work leading to the publication Asthma in Australia 2003 and also makes recommendations for items that are suitable for inclusion in the National Health Data Dictionary (NHDD).

The indicators ACAM is recommending for monitoring are listed in Table S.1. The table includes indicators that have been developed in draft form and are ready to be submitted for inclusion in the NHDD, as well as those that are not recommended for inclusion at this stage, but will be submitted later for inclusion in the NHDD following further development of the indicator or data source to a stage where a firm recommendation can be made. In some cases the proposed indicators can be measured but are not recommended for inclusion in the NHDD in their current form.

The starting point for the recommendations reported here was the list of indicators proposed in the report of a workshop conducted in August 2000 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW 2000). Some of the items listed in Table S.1 are those that were proposed in that report. Others are newly proposed indicators. The latter fall into three categories: new supplementary indicators to indicators proposed in 2000; replacement for indicators proposed in 2000; and entirely new indicators covering important areas not encompassed by the indicator set proposed in the AIHW report (AIHW 2000).