Information from the AHS can be delivered in a variety of formats. To date, users have expressed general views on the types of products that they need, but few have expressed views on how the range of products are likely to be utilised by themselves or their organisations, or how the suite of products might meet their needs collectively. The key issues raised by users regarding information products is about ensuring their timeliness and quality, while issues such as content, style and access have been second order issues.

The ABS, in delivering the AHS outputs, also needs to ensure that the suite of products is cost-efficient to produce and maintain and that it meets legislation and policy regarding confidentiality and statistical quality. It also has a responsibility to ensure that the information is accessible to a wide range of users.

The current approach adopted by the ABS to producing outputs from its surveys has met the needs of information users to some extent in the past, however it is expected that improvements in the range, flexibility and levels of user engagement will be required for the AHS.

    Table 1 provides an outline of a range of possible products and services under consideration.


    Basic release tables
    • Basic summary tables of results with basic descriptive text by key topic
    • Extended tables by topic (i.e. more detailed breakdowns of categories) - may be accompanied by descriptive text

    Basic analysis
    • High level analysis of key issues with descriptive text and supporting tables and graphs
    • Historical comparative analysis of AHS with previous health surveys or other data outcomes

    In-depth analysis
    • Articles examining relationships across measures and utilising higher level statistical approaches
    • User requested tables, graphs and analysis generated from the National Information Referral Service or from subject matter experts

    Microdata access tools
    • Survey Table Builder
    • Census Table Builder

    Unit record data
    • Confidentialised Unit Record files – Basic and expanded

    Other presentations
    • Seminars on key results and survey feedback
    • An AHS conference
    • Contributions to other health conferences on methodology and outcomes
    • Secondary analysis of data - contributions to journal and magazine articles

    Key message outputs
    • Media releases and ‘placed’ descriptive pieces
    • Summary products for return to communities
    • Key findings used in key reports or key websites

    Partnered outputs
    • In depth analysis and exploration of issues - technical topic focus
    • Analyses that compare/contrast with other data sets
    • Development of training and survey overview materials

    User support
    • Development of training and survey overview materials
    • Web based interactive user documentation with examples and tutorials
    • User support workshops and briefings

    Table 1 outlines the product types that might be produced to support the AHS, however choices need to be made to combine the right product with the right types of information to meet an audience need (e.g. complex analyses about the relationships between health, risk factors and service use may be better suited to an in-depth analysis type release than a basic type release). Further, choices will need to be made about the specific type of product at the operational level, its design, the management of data elements, the interpretive writing, assessment of statistical robustness and types of analytical approaches, and the need for technical support files. Engagement with users will be important in this development phase, prior to the start of data publication in late 2012. Some example descriptions of the various products are provided in Appendix 2.

    In making these choices, the cost and time frame for production will also need to be taken into account as will the range of products, their likely rate of uptake and the ability to meet multiple needs of users with one product. Cost of production of the information products will need to be assessed carefully, as their production of outputs from the AHS is governed by a budget and therefore the balance of ABS production costs must be weighed against user self-service. This same consideration may also apply to timeliness of product release.

    The key information product strategies are to:
    • deliver most information products as web based products with links to the suite of AHS products;
    • make the products engaging, interesting and accessible;
    • present new AHS materials in a manner that can be compared and contrasted with materials from previous surveys (using the latest presentation approaches), using data visualisation products as well as traditional tables, graphs and commentary;
    • deliver AHS products in a manner that align with other reporting processes (e.g. input to COAG reporting on the NHA, NPAPH, Closing the Gap);
    • ensure access to data can be facilitated as quickly and easily as possible and is supported appropriately with training materials and metadata; and
    • consult with users in the design and delivery of these information products, and where possible integrate users into the product delivery channels.