The National Health Survey (NHS) is an Australia-wide health survey which collects information about the health of people, including:
- prevalence of long-term health conditions
- health risk factors such as smoking, overweight and obesity, alcohol consumption and exercise
- use of health services such as consultations with health practitioners and actions people have recently taken for their health
- demographic and socioeconomic characteristics
The Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP) is a partnership among Australian Government agencies to combine information on healthcare, education, government payments, personal income tax, and the Census to create a comprehensive picture of Australia over time. Information in MADIP is combined by linking person-level datasets to a central linking infrastructure, or ‘Spine’ that serves as a base dataset representing the ‘ever-resident’ population of Australia. The Spine used to create the MADIP asset is made up of the Medicare Consumer Directory, Personal Income Tax data and Social Security and Related Information data. More information on MADIP, including how the data is kept secure and confidential, is available on the ABS Website.
Integration of the NHS and MADIP asset provides potential rich insights about health service usage. High-level policy issues that could be informed by this linkage include:
- the connection between people’s lifestyles, risk factors and health conditions and their use of government services
- the impact of health status and health conditions on social and economic participation
- the extent to which use of pharmaceuticals and medical services are consistent with appropriate pathways of care and meet clinical needs
- patterns of healthcare service use for different patient cohorts
A Privacy Impact Assessment into linking the 2014-15 NHS to MADIP was undertaken.
This paper summarises scope, coverage and quality of the 2014-15 NHS dataset, as well as linking methodology used and results achieved from the linkage process undertaken in 2018-19.