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Indigenous primary health care key performance indicators (June 2016)

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
METeOR identifier:Help on this term672769
Registration status:Help on this termAIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 31/05/2017

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term

The Indigenous primary health care key performance indicators (nKPIs) database contains service-level information from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health organisations funded by the Australian Government as well as a smaller number of services funded by the Northern Territory Government. The AIHW maintains this database and uses it to produce public national reports, released annually, and individual service-level reports for each 6-weekly reporting cycle provided back to each organisation.

Institutional environment:Help on this term

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (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 corporate Commonwealth entity established in 1987, governed by a management Board and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health 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 states and territories’ health organisations to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile information into national datasets that can be reported on. The AIHW is responsible for undertaking data validation, analysis and reporting as part of the nKPI collection.
AIHW undertakes these tasks in a way which is consistent with The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) The data collections managed by the AIHW are stored securely and in accordance with legislative privacy and confidentiality conditions.
For further information see the AIHW website

Timeliness:Help on this term

After a trial reporting period in March 2012, nKPI data have been collected at approximately 6 month intervals beginning from June 2012.

Following the first submission of data, the finalisation of data may take a number of additional months. During this period, and where required, the AIHW works in consultation with organisations to improve the quality of the data submitted. 

The AIHW checks the quality of the data submitted by each organisation and issues exception reports that invite organisations to correct and resubmit data when data quality issues are identified (see Accuracy section). Some organisations submitted data 4 or more times for the June 2016 reporting period, and there were often substantial delays between the AIHW issuing an exception report and the relevant organisation resubmitting data. Due to the extent of this data quality improvement process, there is a time lag between the date when the organisations submit data and the annual release of national reports.

There was no national report for the December 2015 reporting period due to some concerns around the quality of data collected for this period.

For the June 2016 reporting period, a dual reporting process was undertaken. As a result, the cut-off date for data submission was extended from 31 July to 31 August (142 organisations (59%) met the deadline of 31 August). A further extension was granted to 14 September. The final close off for submissions that followed an exception report was 4 November (instead of the usual mid-September cut off). This time lag impinged on timeliness, and, as a result, data for the June 2016 reporting period were not finalised until 18 November 2016 which in turn impacted the timeliness of the June 2016 report.

National reports were to be published annually from mid-2014. These national reports present data at the national level, and also provide relevant disaggregation of data by jurisdiction, remoteness, age, and sex. The release of national reports is expected to take approximately 10 months from the start date of the latest reporting cycle included in the report (i.e. 30 June or 31 December). The national report for the June 2016 reporting period is being published in May 2017. This is a month later than usual due to the extensions to the submission deadlines as noted above.

The AIHW provides individualised reports and PowerPoint presentations to health organisations which submit data. For the June 2016 collection, these were provided on average 8 calendar days after finalising their data.


Accessibility:Help on this term

National level data will be available in AIHW publications. Four reports have been released since 2014 and are available as hard copy or on the AIHW website that can be downloaded free of charge.

Interpretability:Help on this term

The main statistical analyses used in the reports are descriptive in nature, such as counts and proportions. Linear regression has also been used when investigating changes to indicator results over time. The national report also includes a range of information to assist interpretation of data, including a glossary of concepts, and information on data limitations. The 2016 national report has been for wider consultation that included the Department of Health, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Advisory Group and internal AIHW peer review to ensure appropriate interpretation.

Relevance:Help on this term

The nKPI database includes information on the activities of participating organisations for the reporting periods ending in June 2012, December 2012, June 2013, December 2013, June 2014, December 2014, May 2015, and June 2016. December 2015 data have been excluded due to some data quality concerns.

nKPI data provide general information about activities undertaken at primary health organisations (for instance, the number of Indigenous babies whose birthweight was recorded) and health outcomes (for instance, the number of Indigenous babies whose birthweight was low, normal or high). The data can also be analysed at jurisdictional and remoteness level. These data may be used to inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy, program development and implementation.
For almost all indicators, data relate to Indigenous regular clients of that organisation. A regular client is defined as someone who has visited a particular primary health care provider 3 or more times in the last 2 years. The exception is the 2 indicators relating to Birthweight of Indigenous babies (PI01 and PI02) as many Indigenous babies will not have visited a health service 3 times in the last 2 years.

Accuracy:Help on this term

For the provision of nKPI data, organisation staff members use a data extraction tool to copy relevant nKPI data, including those relating to health processes and outcomes, for a particular point in time.

The AIHW checks the quality of the data supplied by each organisation. Where the AIHW identifies possible errors or inconsistencies with an organisation’s data, it issues the organisation with an exception report. The exception report provides a description of the data quality issues identified and an invitation to the organisation to resubmit data. The AIHW issued exception reports to 58 organisations for the reporting period ending in June 2016. The AIHW checks any data resubmitted as part of the exception report process, and continues to check data and issue exception reports as needed until no data quality issues are identified or the relevant organisation indicates it is unable or unwilling to resupply corrected data. At this point, the data are considered to be finalised for that organisation. However, where unresolved data quality issues are identified, the AIHW excludes this data from national analyses. For the June 2016 collection, 9 organisations had 2 or more unresolved internal validation issues at the close of the reporting cycle.

The major reasons for data not being provided or organisations having data quality problems include a lack of complete records of data held by the organisation, insufficient data management resources at organisations to support the data collection, and problems with the electronic transfer of data from organisations’ Patient Information Recall Systems (PIRS) to the AIHW. In some cases organisations do not provide the service for which the indicator collects information.

For the June 2016 reporting period, 48 organisations submitted data manually or using MMEX. Remaining services were required to provide 2 data extracts; the first extracted with the Pen CS CAT4 extraction tool and the second with the Canning extraction tool. A total of 19 services were either unable or chose not to do so, and provided submissions extracted using Canning only. So as to present analyses that were comparable with previous periods, only data submitted using the manual form, MMEX, or Pen CS CAT4 tool are included in national reporting.

To ensure accuracy in the national report, once finalised, the draft is sent for wider consultation including the Department of Health, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Advisory Group, and internal AIHW peer review.

Coherence:Help on this term

The nKPIs were developed as a new indicator set, with a trial collection in March 2012. Data were initially collected for 11 nKPIs. The original 11 nKPIs have remained virtually unchanged from the trial collection period in March 2012, permitting comparison between periods. From July 2013, data from an additional 8 nKPIs were collected. An additional 2 indicators were added to the data collection in December 2014 and one additional indicator was added in December 2015. In the trial collection and the collection in July 2012, data were received from about 80-90 organisations that were participating in the Healthy for Life program funded by the Australian Government. The number of participating organisations increased to 173 in December 2012, 206 in June 2013, 207 in December 2013, 210 in June 2014, 233 in December 2014, 242 in June 2015 and 240 in December 2015. For the June 2016 reporting period, 241 organisations were included in the collection.

The June 2015 data collection was brought forward a month and so the reference date for this collection is May 2015 rather than June 2015. While it was expected that data would be submitted for a full reference period of the indicator, some health organisations may not have done so. For example, when extracting data for clients who had received health care processes over a 12 month period from June 2014 to May 2015, the data may only have been submitted for 11 months from July 2014 to May 2015.

From the December 2015 reporting period, the Northern Territory Government has adopted the nKPI definition of an Indigenous regular client for nKPI reporting purposes. This change improves the consistency of nKPI data collected and represents an improvement to overall nKPI data quality. Notwithstanding this improvement, the definition change has implications for making comparisons between current and previous reporting periods. From a statistical perspective, the change in definition means that comparisons with previous periods cannot be made.

Due to some concerns around the quality of data collected for the December 2015 period, this reporting cycle has been excluded from national reporting. For the June 2016 report, time series analysis uses annual data (i.e., at the mid-year reporting period) rather than every 6 months.

Source and reference attributes

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