3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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The South Australian Health Monitor (SAHM)


The South Australian Health Monitor (SAHM) is a user-pays telephone survey system that has been in operation since 1999 and is administered by the Population Research and Outcomes Studies Unit of The University of Adelaide (since January 2011), and previously by the SA Department of Health.

The goal of the SAHM survey is to collect, analyse and interpret data, which can be used to plan, implement and monitor health programs and other initiatives. Three South Australian wide surveys per year are conducted. Additionally, other studies into particular aspects of health are conducted on an ad hoc basis. These ad hoc surveys may be conducted within South Australia, nationally, within a selection of states and territories, or within particular regions of South Australia.

The Health Monitor has the potential to generate information that is useful for a wide variety of applications. These include:

  • the provision of services prevalence data on health problems
  • information that identifies target groups for interventions and campaigns
  • information on the aetiology of specific health problems
  • data to test hypotheses
  • information on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours which are related to health problems
  • information on perceptions towards and acceptability of health services and programs or organisations
  • information on the acceptability and uptake of new initiatives and programs
  • evaluation of health interventions and programs
  • monitoring changes in health problems and disease trends

The SAHM survey supplements the annual Health Omnibus personal interview survey, allowing health planners to collect information at other times of the year. It also facilitates the collection of information from remote areas which are not included in the sample frame for the Health Omnibus Survey.

The SAHM is an omnibus-type service available to government and non-government organisations to obtain data on a range of health issues within South Australia. Each organisation pays only for survey questions that have direct relevance to their information requirements. Surveys that focus on a specific topic may be commissioned by a sole organisation.


Each SAHM surveys around 2,000 respondents aged 18 years and over, randomly selected from the South Australian electronic White Pages.

  • Country of birth
  • Year of arrival
  • Main language spoken at home

Although topics covered by the SAHM vary from survey to survey, a common list of topics and data items follows:

Demographic data items:
Marital status, level of education, work status, age, Aboriginal status, occupation, sex, income, household members (under 18), household members (over 18), postcode, housing tenure.

Health data items:
Health service use, health instruments, chronic disease/conditions, injury, diet and nutrition, immunisation, alcohol consumption, body mass index (height and weight), physical activity and smoking.


Geographic coverage varies according to the requirements of the individual survey. The Health Monitor is capable of surveying populations nationally, within South Australia, within a selection of Australian states and territories, or within particular regions of South Australia.


Users of the Health Monitor receive a tabulated report of the data generated by their questions and the demographic variables included in the survey. During analysis, the survey data are weighted to the sex, age and geographical area profile of the population of interest and the probability of selection within a household so that the survey findings are applicable to that population as a whole. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population data are used for the weighting process.

In addition to the tabulated report, users also receive demographic data and data resulting from their questions on diskette to facilitate further analysis. For surveys that focus on a particular topic, the Population Research and Outcome Studies unit will provide a full written analytical report if required.

Data/information that does not identify individual respondents may be requested.

Additional details about the HM are available in a Prospectus. Details of the HM methodology and on how to obtain the Prospectus are available via the 'Data Sources - Health Monitor section of the Population Research and Outcome Studies Unit website.


Population Research and Outcome Studies Unit
Ph: 08 8313 1211
Email: anne.taylor@adelaide.edu.au
Email: eleonora.dalgrande@adelaide.edu.au
Web: http://health.adelaide.edu.au/pros/