The Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) is currently working with Primary Health Networks and data providers to explore data linkage between general practice and tertiary health services, in an effort to deliver high quality data and information on health service and system performance in Victoria. The linking of this data provides a platform to drive improvements in care and health outcomes by making available practice-relevant, high quality information about patient journeys through the healthcare system.
VAHI has played a leading role in a National Data Linkage Demonstration Project, commissioned by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, which brought together of hospital admitted patient care data with MBS and PBS data. This project confirmed that data linkage can enable evaluation of patient care pathways across both hospital and community-based services.
GP practices and Primary Health Networks collect rich data on patient care that can be added into this linkage work. Linking this data would further enhance the knowledge base and could transform VAHI’s ability to manage quality and effectiveness at a system, provider and clinician level.
VAHI is currently looking at what data are available and what barriers there are to better integrating and sharing important information on patients and outcomes. The outcomes of this work have the potential to enhance the capacity of clinicians, system planners, clinical networks and service providers to identify and promote best practice clinical pathways. At a patient level, it could be of immense assistance to GPs and hospital-based services to better inform improvements in care by identifying evidence-practice gaps, variations in care and patient outcomes.