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Case Study 1: Coordination of Health Care Study (Target 1.2, Measure 1.2.2)

The Coordination of Heath Care Study is a partnership between the ABS and AIHW providing important information on patients’ experiences of coordination of health care across Australia.

Navigating health care systems can be difficult, especially for people with multiple conditions or complex, long-term health care needs. It is therefore crucial that relevant information is transferred between providers (for example, a general practitioner and a specialist) and settings (for example, emergency department and primary health care) to ensure patients receive the right type of care, at the right time, in a consistent and cohesive manner.

The study focussed on people aged 45 years and over who saw a general practitioner at least once between November 2014 and November 2015, and was designed to provide robust data for local areas.

The first stage of the study, the Survey of Health Care1, was conducted throughout Australia in 2016 and explored participants’ self-reported experiences with health care providers and the broader health care system.

The second stage, undertaken in 2018, involved linking Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) information for consenting participants from the 2014 to 2018 Survey of Health Care. This provided an opportunity to understand patients’ experiences of coordinated care in the context of their use of Medicare services and PBS medicines. Administrative data was used to weight responses from the sample of study participants, enhancing data quality. Initial results released by ABS in December 20182 pave the way for future analysis, modelling and reporting by the AIHW.

A third stage of the study, underway in 2019, will, with explicit consent, link state and territory hospital admissions and emergency department data to Survey of Health Care data. This will facilitate further understanding of the impact of coordination and continuity of care on health outcomes and health system usage in Australia.

The sharing of methodological and technical expertise between the ABS and AIHW resulted in improved data quality and tailored outputs to better meet the information needs of AIHW, while seconding AIHW officers to the ABS facilitated mutual learning and improved data access to customised microdata, delivered via the ABS DataLab.

Image of medical staff looking after patient in hospital bed


  1. See Survey of Health Care, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 4343.0)
  2. See Coordination of Health Care Study: Use of Health Services and Medicines, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 4343.0.55.001)