Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF) 2012

Technical Appendix—Data development—The Northern Territory (NT)

The HPF was designed to measure the impact of the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (NSFATSIH) and will be an important tool for developing the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP).

Page last updated: 15 November 2012

The Department of Health (DoH) has rolled out a number of e-health initiatives across the NT that will have major implications for the use and collection of data. These improvements assist in the provision of seamless care for health consumers. Brief outlines for these initiatives are as follows:

My eHealth Record service (rebranded from Shared Electronic Health Record)

As at 30 June 2012 the My eHealth Record service ensures access to important health information is available with consent 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for 54,000 (up from 43,000 as at 30 June 2011) patients (including an estimated 75% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in rural and remote communities in the NT) at any of the 137 participating health centres (including correctional facilities), private general practices and public hospitals in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal community controlled health services in South Australia and public hospitals in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. During 2011–12 My eHealth Record was used by 800 to 900 authorised clinical users each month, sending an average of 114,600 healthcare event summaries (up from 65,980 in 2010–11) and accessing on average 27,500 occasions (up from 12,980 in 2010–11), as part of providing healthcare. My eHealth Record has proved to be of major benefit for mobile populations, and people from rural and remote areas accessing services in regional towns or cities, by ensuring up-to-date information is easily accessible at the point of care, whether that is at a remote health centre operated by DoH or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service or at a public hospital in a regional or major urban centre. In relation to this population My eHealth Record has achieved 100% effective coverage of all healthcare providers delivering services to people in rural and remote areas of the Northern Territory.

Secure Electronic Messaging Service (SEMS)

The SEMS ensures that specific information regarding clinical referrals can be communicated electronically securely between service providers. This assists in a seamless care in relation to managing transition from GPs/Health Centres to appointments with specialists or hospital outpatient clinics. Electronic medications and discharge summary information is forwarded by hospitals to communities of residence, so that information is available locally for consumers on their return to country. In 2011–12, the Continuity of Care project was completed, upgrading the messaging solutions used by DoH and Aboriginal community controlled health services in the Northern Territory to compliance with national specifications approved by the National eHealth Transition Authority (i.e., the Australian Technical Specifications for Secure Message Delivery).Top

Primary Care Information System (PCIS)

In 2009–10 DoH completed the rollout of PCIS to the 22 remaining remote health centres, making a total of 54 Departmental health centres transitioned to using fully electronic health records (eliminating the use of paper records) integrated with the eHealthNT MEHR service and Secure Messaging Delivery for eReferrals and eDischarge. As at 31 December 2010 PCIS had expanded its coverage to include health services in the two NT Prisons, three Juvenile Detention facilities, and two Living Skills Units. Between December 2011 and March 2012 PCIS was introduced into Police Watch Houses in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. PCIS includes a number of tools to assist in patient care, e.g., automatic alerts for service providers about patients to be recalled for follow-up treatments/services, providing a technological advantage to making service delivery easier. The PCIS Team work closely with clinical reference groups and program areas to continually develop new and update existing care plans to reflect best practice standards and CARPA protocols. PCIS facilitates extensive coded clinical data collection for each service episode with the capacity to capture all required national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance indicator data. The data rich detailed clinical models in PCIS supply source data to provide decision support through the CARPA+ advanced shared electronic care plan system.

Aboriginal Health Key Performance Indicator (AHKPI) project

Initiated by the Aboriginal Health Forum (AHF) to develop a structure for collection and reporting of 19 agreed Key Performance Indicators that cover both DoH Remote Health Centres and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. The project is managed cooperatively by DoH, the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and AMSANT under the auspices of the AHF Banner and maintains the NT Aboriginal Health KPI collection covering the Government and Non-Government sectors to improve the quality and robustness of data for use in service planning and management through continuous quality improvement.

The goal of the system is to contribute to improving primary health care services for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory by building capacity at the service level and the system level to collect, analyse and interpret data that will:
  • Inform understanding of trends in individual and population health outcomes
  • Identify factors influencing these trends, and
  • Inform appropriate action, planning and policy development.
Processes for data collection from the various organisations information systems have been defined and developed, and data delivery from all NT community health centres commenced on 1 July 2009. Reports are produced bi-annually, six weeks after end-of-financial and calendar year. The AHKPI definitions go through continuous cycles of quality improvement with approved changes to the existing NT AHKPI definitions, or new KPIs completed twice a year.

East Arnhem Health Services Delivery Area (EAHSDA) Communicare: Between August 2011 and January 2012 DoHA and the Northern Territory Department of Health (DOH) jointly funded the implementation of Communicare into the four EAHSDA centres of Yirrkala, Ramingining, Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak. Yirrkala health centre transitioned to Miwatj Aboriginal Health 1 July 2012 and remains on the DOH Central East Arnhem Database in support of a central East Arnhem database and the spirit of regionalisation.

Health eTowns Program

In 2010–11 DoH commenced the Health eTowns Program jointly funded with the Australian Government under the Digital Regions Initiative. The Health eTowns Program aims to deliver improvements in health and education outcomes for predominantly Indigenous populations living in remote communities across the Northern Territory and the Kimberley Region, by implementing:
  • a comprehensive telehealth network and connection service enabling clinical and diagnostic services to be delivered remotely, connecting Northern Territory Public Hospitals, remote primary care health centres, interstate tertiary hospitals and private specialists, and now providing a range of telehealth services, including:
      • Tele-Burns clinics and urgent reviews
      • Pre-Admission clinics
      • Tele-Oncology patient reviews
      • Tele-Cardiology
      • Trauma and Critical Care Support, and
      • Post-Surgical review clinics.
  • a high-speed fibre, data communications network in 17 Territory Growth Towns
  • an Advanced Shared Electronic Care Plan (ASeCP) system to improve care coordination for patients with complex or chronic conditions—completed development of atomised data repository for storage of care plans (utilising openEHR) and electronic Pregnancy Plan of Care (ePOC) data items, systems interface under development
  • an eLearning Framework and system to support online training and professional development activities as part of continuing workforce development.

As at 30 June 2012:

  • the implementation of the eLearning Framework and system to support online training and professional development activities had been completed
  • the installation of a high-speed fibre, data communications network in 17 Territory Growth Towns had been completed
  • the deployment phase of the TelehealthNT Network was nearing completion, including the deployment of:
      • Internet Protocol (IP) Patient Monitors into emergency rooms and resuscitation areas
      • desktop video conferencing
      • high definition Medicarts and room based units
  • the Program was working with clinicians to expand the range of services delivered via this technology
  • expansion of services has commenced beyond the identified 17 Territory Growth Towns, to include a further 30 communities, where Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) members organisations provide healthcare services. The expansion program is looking to place technically appropriate facilities into these communities (i.e., technology that does not require significant bandwidth) and is assisting AMSANT member organisations to access affordable bandwidth through opportunities for early adoption of the NBN.Top