Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Defining our own outcomes (#38)

Summer May Finlay 1 2 , Alex Brown 1 2 , Jason Agostino 3 , Marie Williams 2 4 , Jenni Judd 5
  1. Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  2. Centre for Population Health Research, School of Health Sciences, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, , Adelaide, SA, Australia
  3. Academic Unit of General Practice, College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  4. Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), School of Health Sciences, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia,, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  5. College of Medicine and Dentistry, Anton Brienl Centre for Health Systems Strengthening and Australian Institute of Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia

Monitoring system performance through routine data collection has become a significant area of policy development in Aboriginal and Primary Health Care over the last few years[1] reflected in the development and mandated reporting of national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs). Understanding the impact of the nKPIs on service delivery, health outcomes and organisational systems is vital to determining their feasibility, acceptability and usefulness to the sector and its funders.

Since 2008, there has been an increased focus on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples’ health outcomes through the National policy: ‘Closing the Gap’[2] (CTG). One of the mechanisms designed to monitor the CTG outcomes was the introduction of a set of nKPIs for organisations who provide primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) have been established to meet the needs of their communities in a culturally appropriate way and are run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The nKPIs were trialled in 2012 and implemented across all 136 (ACCHO) services in 2013. The impact of the changes on these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services has not been evaluated.

ACCHOs have to balance expectations from their communities and the Australian government. The introduction of the nKPIs has brought with it challenges for ACCHOs as these performance indicators focus on clinical measurements rather than the holistic understanding of health that is based on the National Aboriginal Health Strategy (1989).

 In addition to discussing the development and reporting of the nKPIs this presentation will explore the history and effectiveness of Key Performance indicators to improve quality of care and health outcomes.

[1] Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council. 2013 A literature review about indicators and their uses. Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council. Sydney, Australia.

[2]Closing the Gap on Indigenous Disadvantage. Council of Australian Governments https://www.coag.gov.au/closing_the_gap_in_Indigenous_disadvantage. Last Viewed 30 August 2015.