Evaluation of the Bringing them home and Indigenous mental health programs
7.2.7 Data management
The key issues raised about data management were that:
- The Foxtrot data system, which is used by the Link-Up services to record program and client data, is cumbersome and not very user-friendly, which leads to the data collected being unreliable. As discussed in Chapter 5, the key problems are that services do not complete all fields required (since it is very time-consuming and requires re-entry of data), and there are inconsistencies in how the database is used, depending on variable staff skill levels. Although the system has recently been upgraded, Link-Up staff felt that it still continues to display errors and there are regular technical problems with the system and how the data is recorded. It may be useful to develop some national archiving standards for records management in Link-Up services (eg defining 'active' versus 'inactive' clients).
- The system requires regular training of staff entering data into the system in order to use it efficiently and effectively, but this training is not provided on a regular enough basis to take account of updates to the system and staff turnover in the services.
- Some Link-Up services reported that when they request training for data management and recording, they have to pay for the accommodation of the trainers, which they are unable to cover from their existing budget.
- Some OATSIH services were not confident that the data required to be reported to the Department gave a good enough 'feel' as to how the services were operating to enable them to adequately monitor the performance of the services. This view is supported by the consultants, considering the feedback from this evaluation and a review of the indicators required to be reported on to OATSIH. This issue is discussed further in chapter 11.