4727.0.55.002 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/09/2014  First Issue
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Most National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS) blood and urine samples were collected at Sonic Healthcare collection clinics or via a home visit using standard operating procedures for phlebotomy collection. In some areas, other pathology service providers were used (including IMVS Pathology for regional areas in South Australia and Northern Territory and temporary collection sites for remote areas), albeit the same standard collection procedures were used.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measure Survey participation

All people aged 18 years and over who participated in either the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) or the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS) were invited to participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS). Selected persons aged 18 years and over were asked to provide both a blood and urine sample. No participants were excluded due to health conditions or their lifestage (such as pregnancy). Participants were encouraged to discuss their participation with their doctor if they had concerns about whether they should participate.

Blood collection

Qualified phlebotomists collected fasting and non-fasting blood samples from persons, aged 18 years and over, into four collection tubes:

  • 1 x 8.5ml SST gel tube for serum analysis
  • 1 x 8.5ml SST gel tube for validation tests
  • 1 x 4ml EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetra-acetic Acid) tube for whole blood analysis
  • 4ml Fluoride oxalate tube for blood plasma analysis.

Order of priority for collecting blood samples was the 8.5ml SST tubes, the 4ml EDTA tube, followed by the 4 ml Fluoride oxalate tube. Douglass Hanly Moir (DHM) pathology coordinated the transport of samples from nationwide Sonic Healthcare collection clinics to the central analysing laboratory at DHM Pathology. While NATSIHMS participants were encouraged to fast, they may not have. Sonic Healthcare collectors recorded the fasting status and the date and time of collection on the referral form which was sent with the samples to DHM for processing.

Urine collection

A urine sample was obtained from participants aged 18 years and over. All urine samples were analysed at DHM pathology except for Iodine, which was transported to Sullivan and Nicolaides pathology (SNP) for analysis on the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICPMS).

Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provided by Sonic Healthcare measured performance criteria such as Turnaround Time (TAT). The TAT was used to assess any adverse impacts to the blood and urine samples due to time delays from collection to analysis.

KPI targets included:
  • TAT from collection to analysis less than 72 hours
  • TAT from first analysis to final report less than 96 hours for blood samples and 120 hours for urine samples (to accommodate for Iodine analyses)
  • Final and complete results provided to the ABS within 7 days
  • Less than 1% of results received to the ABS with missing information or results
  • Less than 1% of errors from total collection to be reissued
  • Less than 1% of collected samples with insufficient volumes or missing tubes
  • All quality assurance reports (100%) results delivered to the ABS within the required range/standard.

Temperature Logging
Blood and urine samples that were collected in remote areas were contained in temperature controlled packaging and a temperature log was attained to ensure the quality of the sample.

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