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The health of Australians is among the best in the world. Nationwide efforts, such as the recognition of national health priority areas, will help to ensure that this status continues.
A range of program initiatives has been established, aimed at improving health outcomes in these areas, which together account for approximately 70% of the burden of disease and cost in Australia. The NHPA initiative recognises that specific strategies for reducing the burden of illness should be holistic, encompassing the continuum of care from prevention through treatment and management to rehabilitation and palliation, and should be underpinned by evidence based on appropriate research.
Diseases and conditions are identified as national health priorities through a national consultation process which considers issues related to their impact on the community and the potential for programs and interventions, as well as the feasibility of measuring the effect of these activities. Sets of indicators are being developed to assist in monitoring the priority areas and in particular the efficacy of program interventions.
In addition to the NHPA initiative, the National Public Health Partnership has endorsed the National Health Performance Committee's new National Health Performance Framework (NHPF). The NHPF covers a range of health system performance measures, as well as measures of population health status and outcomes and health determinants. Work is progressing on the development of a set of indicators for reporting against the NHPF.