Consumers Health Forum of Australia — Focus Groups on Primary Care Data

11 November 2019

    Australians use primary care more than any other part of the health system yet given its scope and influence, there is relatively little information available about the overall activity and outputs of primary health care. Health consumers will have the opportunity this month to participate in focus groups to raise awareness about a new development to improve knowledge about primary care.

    The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is progressing plans to develop a National Primary Health Care Data Asset (Data Asset). It is envisaged that the Data Asset will facilitate a better understanding of what happens to patients in the primary health system including their diagnoses, treatment, outcomes and patient experiences by bringing together a range of data from various sources over time.

    AIHW is the premier agency responsible for collecting and reporting statistics in health and welfare to provide stronger evidence — data and information — for better decisions and improved health and welfare. It publishes over 180 high quality reports annually on key health and welfare topics and issues in Australia.

    AIHW has contracted Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) to promote awareness and confidence among consumers about the Data Asset. To support this goal, CHF is seeking to gauge consumer knowledge, attitudes, support and concerns about this new path to primary health care information.

    We will be conducting small focus groups this month to explore consumer implications of the development. Participants will receive a briefing note to inform themselves before the group session. Separately on Wednesday 30 October 2019 and Monday 11 November 2019  we will hold two webinars in which consumers, AIHW and clinical panellists will discuss the data project and respond to online questions.

    The development of robust data on primary health care requires active consumer consideration of sensitive aspects including privacy, patient consent and use of de-identified data. CHF welcomes AIHW’s approach in seeking consumer consultation on this development, given the extension of data gathering and reporting into the sometimes intimate setting of primary health care.

    Public confidence in the credibility and security of the Data Asset will be important for its eventual operation and success. The focus groups provide an important opportunity for consumer input.

    Teleconferences are expected to take place in the week starting Monday 14 October 2019.

    Please note that a $50 participation fee will be paid to all participants.

    Focus group numbers are limited. To apply, please email the reason for your interest and your contact details to CHF’s Research and Policy Officer, James Ansell at