Fourth national mental health plan: measurement strategy

4.3 Appendix 3: Selection criteria for national health performance indicators

Page last updated: May 2011

The following table lists the selection criteria from the National Mental Health Performance Framework, adopted from the National Health Performance Committee (now part of the AHMAC National Health Information Standards and Statistics Committee).

Selection criteria for individual health performance indicators
Selection criteria related to sets of indicators
Additional selection criteria

Selection criteria for individual health performance indicators

  • Be worth measuring
    The indicators represent an important and salient aspect of the public's health or the performance of the health system.
  • Be measurable for diverse populations
    The indicators are valid and reliable for the general population and diverse populations (i.e. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, rural/urban, socioeconomic etc).
  • Be understood by people who need to act
    People who need to act on their own behalf or on that of others should be able to readily comprehend the indicators and what can be done to improve health.
  • Galvanise action
    The indicators are of such a nature that action can be taken at the national, state, local or community level by individuals, organised groups and public and private agencies.
  • Be relevant to policy and practice
    Actions that can lead to improvement are anticipated and feasible – they are plausible actions that can alter the course of an indicator when widely applied.
  • Measurement over time will reflect results of actions
    If action is taken, tangible results will be seen indicating improvements in various aspects of the nation's health.
  • Be feasible to collect and report
    The information required for the indicator can be obtained at reasonable cost in relation to its value and can be collected, analysed and reported on in an appropriate time frame.
  • Comply with national processes of data definitions

Selection criteria related to sets of indicators

  • Cover the spectrum of the health issue.
  • Reflect a balance of indicators for all appropriate parts of the framework.
  • Identify and respond to new and emerging issues.
  • Be capable of leading change.
  • Provide feedback on where the system is working well, as well as areas for improvement. Top of page

Additional selection criteria


In addition to the general criteria for health performance indicators outlined above, indicators should:
  • Facilitate the use of data at the health industry service unit level for benchmarking purposes.
  • Be consistent and use established and existing indicators where possible.