AIHW highlights primary health data shortfall

The report singles out a lack of information on why people visited GPs and other primary care professionals, what actions GPs recommended in consultations, and outcomes of those recommendations. It also points out there is no national data about state-funded community health activity. 

"We have a lot of information about why people access hospitals, but... although there are more services each year, for GPs all we know for most of it is the length of the consultation," AIHW senior executive Jenny Hargreaves told MO

The report recommends improving general practice survey methods, extracting and compiling core GP data already held by many practices in their electronic patient records, and linking already-existing data sets to make better use of what is at hand.

MBS, PBS, Indigenous-specific health services, homelessness and disability data could be packaged to present a fuller picture of primary care, it says.