4364.0.55.013 - Information Paper: Australian Health Survey - Evaluation, July 2017  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/07/2017   
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The 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) was the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. This collection was designed to address identified population health gaps in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and biomedical measures for the whole Australian population including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Australian Government Department of Health commissioned the ABS to conduct the AHS Evaluation to investigate the following:

    • Whether expectations regarding the population health information gaps were met;
    • How the data have been used, particularly with respect to the inter-relationships between the NHS data items and those in the AHS;
    • The perceived value and expected impact of the AHS data;
    • Future data requirements and frequency with which the information is required; and
    • Improvements with respect to collection, quality and outputs that should be considered in the future.

The AHS has provided a strong infrastructure for health research in Australia. Over the past 5 years, information from the AHS has been widely used across a range of settings. Information from the AHS is regularly cited in the media and used by policy makers and others in decision making. A number of publications, and products used to facilitate access to fine level data have been released by the ABS. They have been recognised by stakeholders as being of high quality, thorough and addressing relevant needs. Website hits and stakeholder feedback indicate high use of these products. The release of a wide range of microdata products and custom requests continues to result in further use of this data which is far reaching from national, state and local government policy use to academic reports and international guidelines.

Feedback from stakeholders indicated keen enthusiasm and appreciation of the uses of the data. While suggesting a number of options for improvement, the key message was that there was a need for regular ongoing collection for the additional components of biomedical, nutrition and physical activity.