Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Diabetes: Australian facts, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 28 November 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Diabetes: Australian facts. Retrieved from https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes
Diabetes: Australian facts. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 13 July 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Diabetes: Australian facts [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2022 Nov. 28]. Available from: https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, Diabetes: Australian facts, viewed 28 November 2022, https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes
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Comprehensive, accurate and timely data are necessary for effective population health monitoring of diabetes with Goal 7 of the Australian National Diabetes Strategy 2021–2030 outlining the need to ‘Strengthen prevention and care through research, evidence and data’.
Although national health information collections continue to develop and improve, there are still gaps and the information that is collected is not always used to its full potential (AIHW 2020). There are also instances where data may be available but are not brought together efficiently for analysis.
Increasing digitisation of health information means more detailed data are being collected, expanding the possibilities for analysing and reporting. There is greater demand for information that is:
Current gaps on the health of people living with diabetes include:
Goal 7 of the Australian National Diabetes Strategy 2021–2030 identifies the need to ‘Strengthen prevention and care through research, evidence and data’.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) expended around $43.0 million on diabetes disease expenditure in 2021 with over $1.0 billion expended since 2000.
To date, the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) has invested $48.6 million in 12 projects with a focus on diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
MRFF-funded projects include:
In addition, MRFF has also invested $47.0 million through MTPConnect (MedTech and Pharma Growth Centre) to establish the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Accelerator initiative, a pillar program to improve the management and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Digital health is the use of technology by individuals and by clinicians and administrators to collect and share health information (ADHA 2021). Digital health technology has the potential to remove barriers to service access, for example through the use of telemedicine to provide specialist care to remote or isolated communities.
Digital health records can improve continuity in patient care through the use of electronic health records, such as My Health Record. They can also enhance clinical decision-making and system-wide responses with real-time access to health information by services, sectors and jurisdictions.
Data linkage, also known as data integration, brings together information from more than one source. Matching disparate pieces of information together can fill gaps in our knowledge on specific diseases, effectiveness and quality of health services and population groups, as well as knowledge gaps across the health and welfare sectors (Jensen 2022).
Two examples of recently linked data sets include the National Integrated Health Services Information Analysis Asset (NIHSI) developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The AIHW is currently working towards the development of the Kidney and Diabetes Data Integration (KADDI) project, a national linked dataset providing information on individuals with diabetes and kidney disease, their treatment, health service usage, diabetes related complications and comorbidity over time. The AIHW and researchers will use this dataset to develop new methodology to refine national monitoring of diabetes.
The AIHW is also working with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and states and territories to develop a national person-based research linked data set of all people who have tested positive for COVID-19 (along with a control group) in Australia since the start of the pandemic. The COVID-19 linked data set will enable linkage at the national level to administrative data, including MBS, PBS, deaths, immunisation, hospitals and aged care data.
The aim of the project is to support current data needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing an evidence base for research into the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19.
Data on the Australian health system are largely organised around occasions of service. Goal 7 of the Australian National Diabetes Strategy 2021–2030 calls for integrated national health care data linkage to improve population health monitoring and to provide an evidence base for strategic planning for health policy and services. Linking national health-care data together with other data, including data from surveys, allows for a richer understanding of how people and population groups interact with services and their health outcomes.
Following individuals from a diagnosis of diabetes, through interactions with the health system, to recovery, further illness or death improves our ability to analyse the development and trajectory of disease; the interaction of determinants and interventions; and the role and performance of the health system in managing, treating and preventing disease.
Current opportunities for improving person-centred diabetes data include:
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2021) Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS), ABS website, accessed 15 December 2021.
ADHA (Australian Digital Health Agency) (2021) National Digital Health Strategy, Sydney: ADHA, accessed 15 December 2021.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) (2020) Health data in Australia’ in: Australia’s health 2022 data insights, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 15 December 2021.
AIHW (2021) Primary health care, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 7 December 2021.
Jensen, L. R. (2022) Using Data Integration to Improve Health and Welfare Insights, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(2), 836. MDPI AG.
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