Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare METeOR Home Page

AIHW National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
Synonymous names:Help on this termData Clearinghouse
METeOR identifier:Help on this term586498
Registration status:Help on this termAIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 10/09/2014

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term

Data included in the AIHW National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse (the Data Clearinghouse) are sourced from the Department of Social Services (DSS). As such, the AIHW has limited capacity to validate data quality.

The Data Clearinghouse  is located at AIHW for the purpose of providing aged care data to a range of stakeholders including policy makers, researchers, service providers and general consumers.
The Data Clearinghouse encourages transparency and independence in aged care policy research and evaluation through the provision of data and information in a timely manner for research, evaluation and analysis, subject to data release protocols.
Included in the Data Clearinghouse are data on aged care providers, services, places, residents, care recipients and payments. Specifically, the Data Clearinghouse includes data and information relating to the following:

  • Residential aged care
  • Home Care Packages Program (from 1 August 2013)
  • Community Aged Care Package (CACP) program (up to 31 July 2013)
  • Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) program and the Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) program (up to 31 July 2013)
  • Transition Care Program (TCP)
  • Aged Care Assessment Program (ACAP)
  • Home and Community Care (HACC).

The majority of these data are derived from administrative data collections designed to support payment of subsidies to service providers, and include data on the numbers of clients, their age and Indigenous status.

Institutional environment:Help on this term

As noted above these data are sourced from the Department of Social Services (DSS). A range of collection, collation and quality processes are implemented prior to these data being transferred to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW); as such, the AIHW has limited capacity to validate data quality.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority governed by a management Board and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health and Ageing portfolio.
The AIHW aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. It collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.
The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to these standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.
One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the Commonwealth Government and states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national datasets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse these datasets and disseminate information and statistics.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with compliance with the Privacy Act 1988, (Cth) ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions with respect to privacy and confidentiality.
For further information see the AIHW website

Timeliness:Help on this term

Data within the DSS data warehouse are updated and refreshed at varying times. For example, HACC data are submitted to the HACC MDS National Data Repository (NDR) on a quarterly basis. However, claims are submitted by service providers on a monthly basis for services delivered under residential aged care and community packaged care.

For consistency, AIHW receives a full refresh of all (historical and current) Data Clearinghouse source data in September each year. The Data Clearinghouse holds data on services and clients from the time of the introduction of the Aged Care Act 1997 (including historical data on clients receiving care at this time).

Accessibility:Help on this term

Researchers, agencies, advocacy bodies and members of the general public can request access to data from the Data Clearinghouse via the website:
Some data requests may require ethics approval. Specifically, access to identifiable information is restricted and will only be granted with the successful completion of an AIHW Ethics Committee application. In general, if the study/project/research meets the following conditions it is likely to be approved:

  • focuses on health issues;
  • has been approved by the researcher’s host institution ethics committee and/or the AIHW Ethics Committee. Typically this review concentrates on the issues of public interest and use of confidential information;
  • is scientifically valid (as judged by a peer review process);
  • results will be placed in the public domain (for example, published papers or books, conference presentations, feedback to patients);
  • it will not break confidentiality provisions;
  • the investigators comply with the AIHW legislation under which the data are released; and
  • the data will be secured in an environment that guarantees confidentiality of individuals’ data.

Given that the study/project/research can meet these conditions, it can be best progressed by researchers discussing feasibility and likely costs with one of the contact officers in the AIHW. The AIHW Ethics Committee application forms are available to download from

These forms contain questions relating to the objectives of the study/project/research, the security of the confidential information, the intended release of results and the public benefit that might be gained from conducting the study/project/research. The Ethics Committee will consider these factors in determining whether to grant approval to the project. The Committee meets four times a year. Once a study is given an Ethics Committee certificate the project can proceed.

Interpretability:Help on this term

Important information on interpretability is available in the accompanying data dictionaries and/or user guides.
Residential aged care
Aged Care Assessment Program (ACAP)
Community packaged care programs (CACP, EACH and EACH)
Home and Community Care (HACC)$File/userguide.pdf
Transition Care Program (TCP)

Note that the AIHW is currently reviewing all datasets in the Data Clearinghouse and developing a complete range of technical documentation to assist in interpretability of data. These will be made available through the Data Clearinghouse once finalised.

In addition, AIHW’s review of the data will include a plan for progressing metadata through national standards development processes and preparing specifications in METeOR (the AIHW’s online metadata register for health, housing and community services data standards).
METeOR can be accessed on the AIHW website:

Relevance:Help on this termThe data provides coverage of aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government under the programs identified above.
Data linkage is needed to estimate the number of individuals receiving aged care services across aged care programs.
Accuracy:Help on this term

Data are collected at the service provider level; some of these data are then reported to the Australian Government Department of Social Services. A subset of the data held by the Department is provided to the Data Clearinghouse. As such, AIHW cannot control the data collection or cleaning processes up to this point.

However, AIHW conducts consistency checks on all received Data Clearinghouse data. All data requested from the Data Clearinghouse are assessed prior to public release to ensure data are as accurate as possible. Any potential interpretation issues are detailed within any release.

There are a few key limitations that should be noted when interpreting these data.

  • Due to the non-compulsory nature of self-identified Indigenous status, the number of people presented who identified themselves as of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin may be an underestimation of the true number using these programs.
  • Information about geographical location (remoteness) is based on location of service provider for all programs except Home and Community Care (HACC). Although the location of service outlets can be used to infer the location of care recipients, it is possible that outlets provide services to care recipients who live outside the outlets’ jurisdictions or geographical areas.
  • Some socio-demographic characteristics of care recipients are recorded at the time of application, and hence may not reflect the true characteristics of the recipients while they are receiving care. These include usual residence status and living arrangements.
Coherence:Help on this termIn general, data are comparable and consistent over time. The Data Clearinghouse holds data on services and clients from the time of the introduction of the Aged Care Act 1997 (including historical data on clients receiving care at this time).

Data products

Implementation start date:Help on this term18/08/2014

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this termAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

See also Aged Care Funding Instrument; Quality Statement AIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 10/09/2014

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