Call to provide researchers with greater access to Commonwealth data

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Productivity Commission released the research paper Efficiency in Health on 23 April 2015. In the paper, the Commission has identified and assessed opportunities to improve the operation of Australia's health care system. This is based on a roundtable the Commission held with health policy experts in November 2014, as well as follow-up research.

The Commission has highlighted areas where there are good prospects for efficiency gains through reforms that can be delivered ‘within system’ — that is, without changing existing institutional and funding structures — and without delay. One of these areas is government-held administrative data.

The paper describes how governments collect large amounts of administrative data, but have a poor track record in allowing researchers to access these data or to link datasets. This is to the detriment of research into more effective health care. To enable researchers timely access to linked administrative data, the Commission has called for Australian Government social policy ministers to provide researchers with greater access to MBS, PBS, Centrelink and other government-held datasets.

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