This section looks at the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who received an Indigenous‑specific follow‑up service in the 12 months following an Indigenous‑specific health check. This includes information on:
- national rates, and differences by age and sex – focusing on people who had a health check in 2019–20
- patient counts by number of follow‑ups received – from 2010–11 to 2019–20
- differences by geographic area – for people who had a health check in 2019–20
- trends in the national rate of follow‑up – from 2010–11 to 2019–20.
Note that because of the 12-month follow‑up window and lag-time in processing some claims, this measure is not available at the time of release for everyone who received an Indigenous‑specific health check in 2020–21.
See Box 4 for key notes about the method used, including data limitations.
One outcome of an Indigenous‑specific health check (MBS items 715, 228, 92004, 92011, 92016, 92023, 93470 and 93479) can be referral for Indigenous‑specific follow‑up services under Indigenous‑specific MBS items 10987, 81300–81360, 93200, 93202, 93048, 93061, 93546–93558, 93571–93573, 93579–93591, 93592 and 93593. This report looks at the proportion of Indigenous Australians who received one of these follow‑up services in the 12 months following their health check.
An overview of the method used to calculate rates of health checks, including key limitations, is described in this Box. See Data sources and notes for additional information.
Rates were calculated using the total number of people who had an Indigenous‑specific health check as the denominator, while the numerator was people who received an Indigenous‑specific follow‑up in the 12 months following their health check. For example, for 2019–20 data:
- The denominator was people who received an Indigenous‑specific health check between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.
- The numerator was people who received an Indigenous‑specific health check between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 and subsequently received a follow‑up service within 12 months of the health check (which could occur anytime between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021, depending on the date of the health check). For individuals with more than one health check in 2019–20, a follow-up service could follow both health checks or only one health check and they would be counted the same way.
- The rate was calculated as the numerator divided by the denominator and multiplied by 100.
Key limitations of the analysis include:
- No information is available from the MBS data set on the outcomes of a health check, and so it is not known how many people actually require follow‑up care. Not all Indigenous Australians who have a health check will need follow‑up services. Consequently, variation in follow‑up rates (for example, by age group or geographic regions), may partly reflect differences in health status, need for follow‑up care and whether people are willing or able to attend prescribed follow-up services.
- The data relate only to MBS-rebated Indigenous‑specific follow‑up items provided by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner, practice nurse, or allied health professional (see also Box 3). Indigenous Australians may receive other MBS‑rebated services after a health check that are also available to non‑Indigenous patients (such as chronic disease management items) or may receive follow‑up services that are not rebated through the MBS.