Information from the AHS will be highly anticipated by a wide range of users and the ABS seeks to support these users through a coordinated output approach. The ABS experience in dealing with information users shows that their capabilities in accessing, processing, interpreting and incorporating the data into their work varies enormously and therefore information products need to be tailored to meet these needs. These information users also demand that the information products are delivered via different types of information channels to match the way they work.

The ABS intends to focus on delivering information products that meet the needs of the following information users:

  • Public (e.g. education facilities, community organisations);
  • Media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, online, radio, TV);
  • Government and non-government agencies (e.g. DoHA, state and territory Health Departments, the Heart Foundation, Cancer Councils, Kidney Foundation); and
  • Researchers and specialist users (e.g. universities, private sector, FSANZ, AIHW, Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) and professional groups such as dieticians and other health professionals).

These groups broadly represent different levels of data needs and capability in using the data. For example, the Public user category effectively represents groups and individuals that are looking to receive key summary messages, stories and highlighted issues that will inform them of the survey outcomes and their implications. While the ABS may play a role in some of this information communication, other organisations may play a role in converting results into these key messages (e.g. health promotion campaigns). It is assumed that the Public category do not have the capacity or need to undertake sophisticated statistical analysis and that they would expect the ABS and other agencies to present them with the outcomes of this work.

The Media category represents a group of users who wish to receive pre-packaged information parcels that are easy to digest and build a story with. They have some analytical capability (either in house or commissioned via experts). The level of complexity of information that can be delivered can vary from high level summary data to more complex tables and analyses that can be manipulated to meet the needs of the media. Ease and speed of access is critical to this group of information users, so they may require the ABS and other related experts to be available to support the information package.

The Government agencies and non-government agencies category represents those organisations that are charged with a particular policy or service delivery focus who may use the AHS information to support their work. Generally these organisations have some statistical literacy and have an analytical capability. However this capability may not always exist in the specific work groups where the AHS information is targeted. Therefore, further 'within' organisation engagement often occurs around these types of data. The range of needs from these organisations varies from basic statistics and stories to comprehensive, complex analysis and interpretation plus background advice on the collection methodologies, information environment and comparisons and contrasts with other data sets. Ease and speed of access to pre-packaged AHS information is critical to meet the media and political cycles but establishing access to and training in the use of unit record data sets is also important to facilitate specific analysis needs within the organisation.

The Researchers and specialist users category are the most sophisticated information users, who recognise the pre-packaged delivery of information, but tend to only use it as a benchmark for their work or use it to generate a deeper level of research activity. These users want detailed levels of information about the survey collection, its qualities, issues and outcomes. They wish to gain access to low level unit record data and manipulate that to meet their research and reporting needs. These researchers and organisations may also be generators of outputs to the media and public as secondary users of the data. While access to summary data is important for these users, the primary objective is to have access to more detailed data sets that allow them the freedom to explore their research and monitoring roles.

Key information user strategies are to:
  • use existing knowledge about user needs and statistical capability to assess against information product design and distribution;
  • continue to engage with the AHS potential user community to understand the information products they need, the channels they wish to receive them and what priorities they place on the outputs; and
  • utilise the advice of the Survey Reference Group, the Data Users Advisory Group and the key stakeholder group to guide the development of information products for the information users they represent.