National mental health information priorities 2nd edition

Part 4: National priorities for mental health information development

Page last updated: June 2005

The work program outlined in this section is set against the background of mental health information development over the past decade. It takes account of the work required to complete the agenda set out in the first edition of the national mental health information priorities and adds new elements, designed to support the directions advocated by the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008.

The potential agenda for national mental health information is substantial, so not all areas of work can be progressed simultaneously. In addition, different stakeholders also hold varying views on the relative priority to be given to any specific area.

A national workshop was held in February 2004 to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to future planning. Many views were expressed, but substantial consensus emerged about those areas of work requiring consolidation and the new items that need to be added to the agenda over the next few years.22

The final list of priority areas described in this section for national action has been developed with consideration to:

  • the level of importance of specific proposals as rated by stakeholders at the national workshop;

  • the need for significant effort to be made in consolidating the gains made under the previous information development framework, particularly, the embedding of an outcomes focus into routine service delivery;

  • the feasibility of implementation in the short to medium term; and

  • the need for work to be undertaken on a national basis to extend into a number of new areas outside the scope of specialist mental health services, consistent with the emphasis of the National Mental Health Plan 2003-2008.
A total of 10 priority areas and 42 specific initiatives are identified for action.23 This section summarises the rationale for each area identified for priority development and outlines the key initiatives to be taken.

4.1 Using outcome measurement to improve mental health care

4.2 Further development of a mental health casemix classification

4.3 Using information to improve safety in mental health care

4.4 Establishing performance indicators and benchmarking in mental health services

4.5 Strengthening workforce uptake and capacity to use information

4.6 Improving national minimum data sets for mental health care

4.7 Information to support mental health care provided external to the specialist sector

4.8 Monitoring population mental health and wellbeing

4.9 Information to support mental health prevention and promotion

4.10 Monitoring and reporting of progress under the National Mental Health Strategy

4.11 Summary of prioritiesTop of page


22 Department of Health and Ageing (2004b). Report of proceedings of National Mental Health Information Priorities Workshop (Sydney).
23 Relative priorities within the group of 42 initiatives are not outlined in this document, but will be developed as specific work plans are refined.