Evaluation of the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program and the Visiting Optometrists Scheme

7.8 Data collection and management

Page last updated: 28 February 2012

Stakeholder views

Many stakeholders believe that data reporting requirements under the program were cumbersome and inefficient, both in format and timing, though the information gathered is seen as important. Most fundholders (but not all) have established mechanisms to automate the production of aspects of these processes, particularly reporting to DoHA. The other fundholders have administratively complex process for these reporting processes.

One concern was that there was significant overlap between the various reporting requirements that exist through the life of a funding agreement. There was some concern that the data that was collected was not appropriate. Stakeholders felt that number of services, visits or patients did not fully reflect the amount of work being undertaken by providers.

There was consistent feedback that the data collected was not being used or distributed in a way that is useful.

Some stakeholders also expressed the view that having guidelines for analysis of data would help them to make the most of the information they were collecting.
DoHA officers believed that it was necessary to have access to timely and high quality data, but that current process was inadequate to achieve this.

Evaluation findings

There are opportunities to rationalise data reporting under the program to achieve more timely data and reports. Details of original service proposals, annual plans and data reports should be submitted electronically through a single on-line web site. The web site should allow updating of data on a batch and individual record basis. This web site should allow the fundholder to interrogate and download data related to the services they managed. The web site should also be able to be interrogated by state/Northern Territory officers of DoHA.

Recommendations - Data management

34. A national MSOAP database is required for all programs. The database should have the following features:
      a. The application should be an on-line application, secure, but accessible through the internet.
      b. Details of the original service proposal approved and the history of approved changes to a service proposal need to be recorded.
      c. Details of visits (including dates), consultations, payments and service provider comments on visits need to be recorded in a separate table.
      d. Data should be able to be entered on-line or in batch mode by fundholders.
      e. Approved service provider details should be updated at the time the proposal is submitted to DoHA (e.g. with the three year or annual plans), or when the fundholder approves a minor variation.
      f. Data on visits (including dates), consultations, payments and service provider comments should be updated by fundholders on a monthly basis.
      g. Fundholders should be able to extract their data for their own analysis.
      h. DoHA state offices should be able to run reports and extract data.