Aboriginal Health Key Performance Indicators

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NT AHKPI project background

These KPIs were developed by the Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal Health Forum, which comprises of the Commonwealth Department of Health, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance and Northern Territory Department of Health.

The goal of the NT AHKPI is to improve primary health care services for Aboriginal Australians in the NT by building capacity at the service level, and to collect, analyse and interpret data at the system level that will:

  • inform understanding of trends in individual and population health outcomes
  • identify factors influencing these trends
  • inform appropriate action, planning and policy development.

Processes for data collection from the various health services have been defined, and data delivery from all NT community health centres commenced on 1 July 2009.

The NT AHF undertook a project to further develop KPIs measuring Aboriginal health outcomes in such areas as chronic disease, antenatal care, babies, child health and adult health. This project identified 44 aboriginal health KPIs and agreed to initially implement 19 of these.

The NT AHF support for this work represents a unique and significant breakthrough in collaborative decision making, unparalleled in other Australian jurisdictions.

Discussion papers

These papers below outlines the historical work on Aboriginal Health KPIs.

Options Paper, Population Denominators for Primary Health Care Indicators, Steve Guthridge, Director, Health Gain Planning, Department of Health and Community Services, 8 March 2006.

NTAHKPI suite Stage Two, [ensure this doc is moved into ePub and link to that]  Development of a Performance Reporting System for Indigenous Primary Health Care, Report of a project by the Cooperative Research Centre for the Primary Health Care Access Program Working Group, Pam Gollow, June 2003.

Governance of the NTAHKPI System

The chair of the NTAHF is the Data Collection Sponsor with overall responsibility for the full-NT-wide data set or collection. This role has been delegated to the KPI Steering Committee consisting of representatives from the NTAHF partners. The SC has responsibility for considering requests for access to data and reports, endorsing any additions or changes to the KPI’s.

A Technical Working Group and a Clinical Reference Group, each with members from the 3 NTAHF partners reports to Steering Committee.

The role of the TWG is to review the implementation of changes or additions of new NT AHKPIs, and make recommendations to the SC on technical issues that must be addressed in order to ensure that funders, health boards and management can receive timely and accurate reports from data extracted from all Patient Information Recall Systems (PIRS) across the NT.

The role of CRG is to review the results of the NT AHKPIs for their clinical relevance, and as a tool in clinical CQI activities, and make recommendations to the Steering Committee on changes needed to ensure that the NT AHKPIs provide the required feedback to clinicians, funders, health boards and management


The NT AHF is able to present a NT wide view of health outcomes in urban and remote Aboriginal primary health care throughout the Northern Territory.  This information has been fed back to communities through standard reports and has streamlined and simplified primary health care reporting requirements at both a Territory and Commonwealth level.

This evidence is being used to show trends in individual and population Aboriginal health outcomes and inform improvements in planning and policy development.

Clinical information is currently being collected from a mixture of Northern Territory Department of Health data sources such as the Primary Care Information System as well as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations' Patient Information Recall Systems (PIRS) such as Communicare.

The standard NT AHKPI reports are being provided to each Aboriginal Primary Health Care service provider with comparisons on each health community result against the overall NT results. This baseline information is crucial in assessing and improving Aboriginal health outcomes as well as assisting the further development of future indicators and providing information towards developing an NT wide model of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).

Evidence based outcomes with inform Aboriginal Health Forum planning and assist with the review of the Expanded Health Service Delivery Initiative as well as a basis for the NT CQI model.

Changes or additions to the existing NT AHKPIs

Another important role of the NT AHKPI Working Groups is to decide if there should be changes or additions to the current KPI definitions and data set. The Steering Committee is very conscious of the reporting burden placed on providers, and is committed to ensuring that any changes or additions are only made with very good reason - such as:

  • Overcoming technical or other difficulties that have been identified with existing definitions;
  • Maintaining alignment with other KPI sets in common use in the NT (eg Healthy for Life KPIs);
  • Ensuring that the NT can meet emerging mandatory national reporting requirements.

Approved changes to the existing NT AHKPI definitions, or new KPIs will be completed twice a year according to the NT AHKPI Annual Reporting and KPI Change Cycle Calendars. [ensure this doc is moved into ePub and link to that] This will enable the substantial technical work to occur within each Patient Information Recall System (PIRS), in the Data Extraction tool, and in the NT AHKPI system within the Northern Territory Department of Health hosted Data Warehouse.

The diagram below outlines the flow process of changes or additions to the NTAHKPIs.

Flow process of changes or additions to the NTAHKPIs

Conceptual Design of the NT AHKPI Information System

The diagram below outlines the flow of data from the source system to the NT AHKPI program.

Flow of data from the source system to the NT AHKPI program

Related links

NT Aboriginal Health Forum partners links:

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT)

Northern Territory Department of Health (DoH)

Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH)

Information about Aboriginal Health:

The Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program

One21Seventy (Menzies School of Health Research)

Improvement Foundation

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

NEVDGP North East Valley Division of General Practice

World Health Organisation

Top End Division of General Practice


If you have any feedback about the NT AHKPIs, the reports, or the need for additional KPIs, please forward them to ahkpi.communications@nt.gov.au. Your ideas will be placed on the Issues Register for consideration by the Working Groups.

NT AHKPI System Team
Data Management and System Reporting
Department of Health, NT Government
PO Box 40596, Casuarina, NT 0811

Ph: (08) 8924 7116

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Last updated: 20 June 2017

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