Tom Armstrong Edited for Online by Joshua Bristow

Indigenous primary health care has improved across the nation, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released today.

The report analysed 19 Key Performance Indicators using data collected  from more than 200 primary health-care organisations.

It found that since 2012 there has been a 5 to 9 per cent increase in recording the birth-weights of babies as well as the smoking and alcohol status of patients.

Institute head of the Indigenous and Children’s group Doctor Fadwa Al-Taman says monitoring and improving the primary care system was key to promoting indigenous health.

“It is the seat to providing information on promotion, screening preventive activites and programs and so on,” Dr Al-Taman said.

She also says the outcome of the report hopes to help support continuous quality improvement activity among service providers.

“This is really saying basically that we need to improve the system over time so we analyse the data, we plan, we monitor, we study and then we evaluate and go through the circle of improvement. ” she said.

Queensland and the Northern Territory performed the best nationally in almost all process of care indicators.

Doctor Al-Yaman says this increase may be due to previous quality improvement  programs in both states.

“This whole process is invented over a long period of time so other programs that they have been involved in such as healthy for life, so we think that is one of the main contributers to the fact that this service has had better outcomes.” she said.

The report’s focus on chronic disease management and maternal and child health is part of the government’s continuing objective of closing the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.