In Australia the need for a formal approach for communicating national health data for statistical purposes was identified in the late 1980's. This culminated in the publication of the first National Health Data Dictionary (NHDD) in 1989. This dictionary included a set of data standards for the transmission of specific data from state and territory health authorities to national agencies.
In 1996 the format of the NHDD was altered to reflect the ISO/IEC 11179 standard, an international standard for the definition of data elements.
The national data dictionaries for the community services (National Community Services Data Dictionary (NCSDD) version 4.3) and housing assistance (National Housing Assistance Data Dictionary (NHADD)) sectors were later developed based on this format.
In 1997 the Knowledgebase was developed by AIHW to store and display data standards from the national data dictionaries.