Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health reporting
Where to find reports on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, how we collect and use standard sets of data to help us track progress towards Closing the Gap health targets, and how Indigenous health services can sign up for newsletters alerting them to changes in reporting processes.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
We provide core services funding for the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
HealthInfoNet makes research and other information readily available in a form that is useful for people working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector.
By sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expertise, HealthInfoNet helps to:
- support capacity building and knowledge-informed decision-making within the health workforce
- promote evidence-informed practice across sectors
- encourage greater integration between policy, practice and research.
You can find reports related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health from:
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
- Health Performance Framework
We also produce newsletters to keep stakeholders updated about changes:
Health data collection and review
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and other providers funded by the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme regularly report 3 sets of data to us. These are the:
- National Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs), in January and July each year
- Online Services Report (OSR), in July each year
- Health Care Provider Number (HCP) report, in July each year.
We use this data to:
- track and monitor Closing the Gap health targets
- monitor uptake of Medicare services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- develop and manage evidence-based policy and programs to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- inform our longer-term strategic planning
- shape our investments in Indigenous primary health care.
National Key Performance Indicator data
The nKPI data provides a measure of maternal and child health, chronic disease management and preventive health outcomes. Over 230 organisations have submitted nKPI data since June 2012. The AIHW uses this data to produce a range of indicator-based reports and annual reports on primary care.
Online Services Report data
The OSR data provides a measure of activity, volume and coverage of a range of health services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Health Care Provider Number data
The HCP data reports changes to Medicare provider numbers for staff who worked at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the previous year, including:
- nurse practitioners
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
- allied health staff
- dental professionals.
We use this to estimate the number and value of services claimed from Medicare under the special Medicare arrangements.
Reviews and redesign
Over the years, we have moved from paper-based reporting to electronic reporting through the Health Data Portal. Regular reviews mean that we are continually improving the data reporting process.
The AIHW conducted a comprehensive review of the nKPI and OSR data in 2019. Since the release of the review’s recommendations, we commissioned the nKPI and OSR Implementation Roadmap to ensure that these datasets remain current and useful.
We are working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Data Advisory Group (HS DAG) to implement the roadmap’s 36 recommendations.
A national baseline data quality audit at the individual service level identified issues affecting data quality and reporting in 2020. The audit found that 30% of health services had effective and mature processes in place to collect, sustain, improve and use their data. We are implementing the report’s recommendations on how to support improved data management in health services.
Health Data Portal
The Health Data Portal is a web-based tool that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services use to submit nKPIs, OSR and HCP data. It has been co-designed with the sector.
Users access the portal with their myGovID and the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). We worked with stakeholders to design the portal to meet their needs and be easy to use. The portal connects with a range of clinical information systems that Indigenous health services use in their practices. View mapping documents for:
Primary health care services can subscribe to our monthly Health Data Portal newsletter to keep up to date with improvements to the portal.
We welcome feedback on the portal at any time.
Health services using their own data
We have developed and integrated data analytics capabilities using the Qlik Sense platform with the Health Data Portal. Services can access their nKPI data via the Qlik Interactive Reports link in the Health Data Portal to:
- see graphs of their nKPI data back to December 2014
- view near-real-time reports on their indicator data, overlaid with a wide range of comparator data
- create reports with comparison groups through various filters
- analyse their data trends
- compare their latest results to those of other Health Services as part of their continuous quality improvement activities.
Primary care health services continue to own the data they submit to the Health Data Portal. The Indigenous primary health care sector is developing a set of data governance arrangements to outline conditions for collection, review, storage and access of this data. Owning their data means that Indigenous organisations can:
- analyse their data
- extract value from it to benefit their communities
- actively control and monitor its release for other purposes.
Voluntary Indigenous Identifier (VII) Framework - Framework for the Collection, Release, Use and Publication of Voluntary Indigenous Identifier Data
Since 2002, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been able to have their status recorded confidentially on a database called the Voluntary Indigenous Identifier (VII). The VII is primarily used to estimate use of the Medicare Benefits Scheme by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This information, grouped together for statistical or reporting purposes, is published in a range of reports and is used to:
- improve policies focused on access to health programs and services
- target funding to specific areas of need
- improve access to benefits and payments
- improve the Department’s future health plans and policies for First Nations People.
The Framework for the Collection, Release, Use and Publication of Voluntary Indigenous Identifier Data (VII Data Framework) is a set of guidelines that direct how VII data is collected and used. This document is intended for data users and potential data users to set out the rules and principles used by the Department when making decisions about the collection, release, use and publication of VII data. It also sets out the legal and ethical obligations for data users, and provides information about the quality of VII data and estimates of Medicare data produced using the VII.
Indigenous reporting contact
Email us with questions or comments about Health's Indigenous data collections. This includes updates to the national key performance indicators and online services report.