Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reporting Background

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health reporting page provides a history of activities related to Indigenous Health Reporting.

Page last updated: 20 November 2018

In 2011 the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 was developed and Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) approved a set of 24 national Key Performance Indicators (nKPIs) to track and evaluate the Closing the Gap health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The nKPIs have been collected from around 230 organisations since June 2012 and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has produced national reports on the data set since May 2014. 

The Online Service Report (OSR) data is currently reported from around 277 organisations funded by the Australian Government (through the Department of Health and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) to provide primary health care, child and maternal health care.

The Health Care Provider Medicare Provider Number (HCP MPN) report was first collected online through OCHREStreams in 2014, which significantly reduced the burden of HCP reporting on services in addition to the time in which services reported. Prior to 2014 services provided paper based HCP MPN reports to the Department.

Since 1996, the Department has had arrangements in place under section 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973, allowing Medicare bulk billing by the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHs) if they are funded for the delivery of primary health care. Medicare payments to the ACCHs are part of the overall funding to Indigenous health. Each year ACCHs are asked to update changes to the Medicare Provider Numbers (MPN) for the doctors, allied health and dental professionals who worked at their organisation in the previous year. This information cannot be obtained directly from Medicare data as it is not held at whole of practice level. The Department estimates the number, and value of services claimed from Medicare under the 19(2) arrangements by ACCHs to monitor the uptake and increased use of Medicare. The information also enables estimation of Medicare rebates paid as part of the section 19(2) arrangements.

How have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services been consulted in the development of the Health Data Portal?

The Health Data Portal has been developed using a co design approach to ensure that stakeholders are able to be actively involved in the development process. Through the co design process the Health Data Portal Project team will identify the processes and requirements that will support health services to use Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health data for producing nKPIs, OSR and HCP number reports.

A series of co-design workshops were conducted in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin from June 2017 through to mid-March 2018. The co-design workshops helped ensure the Health Data Portal meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services and is as easy as possible to use. The principles of co-design will continue once the Portal is being used for official reporting and your feedback is always welcomed.

Successful Trial of the Health Data Portal during the June 2018 nKPI data collection

The trial of the Health Data Portal during the June 2018 nKPI data collection period was a success. The Portal will be the official reporting mechanism for all Online Services (OSR), National Key Performance Indicators (nKPI) or Health Care Provider (HCP) data collections from December 2018 onwards.

The 45 Health Services that participated with the trial represented a range of Clinical Information Systems (CIS), allowing for a thorough test of how the various CIS interface connect with the Portal.

The trial was also a great opportunity for the Department to work with the AIHW and discover any issues with the Portal.

During July 2018, our trial participants were instrumental in the discovery of technical bugs, and provided us with constructive feedback, which will inform the future development and enhancement of the Portal. In total, we have received over 100 items of feedback on the Portal. We are sorting and organising these, and will address the critical issues before December 2018. Feedback was received via requests for phone call support, feedback surveys (35% response rate) and one-on-one conversations with selected users. These have been analysed and a summary is available in the Portal Trial Summary.

The trial provided evidence that the Portal is robust and will be an effective replacement for OCHREStreams going forward. A letter from the Department of Health to health service CEOs was sent on Monday 3 September 2018 advising of the decision to decommission OCHREStreams and rely in future on the Portal.


  1. National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care Data Validation Project Report July 2017
  2. The purpose of the Data Validation Project (DVP) was to objectively and independently review the accuracy of the data processing that is performed to produce nKPIs. The report is now available.

For further information please email Indigenousreporting@health.gov.au.