Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health information: progress, pitfalls and prospects

Ring, Ian, and Griffiths, Kalinda (2021) Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health information: progress, pitfalls and prospects. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (19). 10274.

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Abstract

Despite significant developments in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health information over the last 25 years, many challenges remain. There are still uncertainties about the accuracy of estimates of the summary measure of life expectancy, and methods to estimate changes in life expectancy over time are unreliable because of changing patterns of identification. Far too little use is made of the wealth of information that is available, and formal systems for systematically using that information are often vestigial to non-existent. Available information has focussed largely on traditional biomedical topics and too little on access to, expenditure on, and availability of services required to improve health outcomes, and on the underpinning issues of social and emotional wellbeing. It is of concern that statistical artefacts may have been misrepresented as indicating real progress in key health indices. Challenges and opportunities for the future include improving the accuracy of estimation of life expectancy, provision of community level data, information on the availability and effectiveness of health services, measurement of the underpinning issues of racism, culture and social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB), enhancing the interoperability of data systems, and capacity building and mechanisms for Indigenous data governance. There is little point in having information unless it is used, and formal mechanisms for making full use of information in a proper policy/planning cycle are urgently required.

Item ID: 70059
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1660-4601
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, Data sovereignty, Governance, Indigenous health measurement, Life expectancy, Management use of information, Misleading statistics
Copyright Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 00:33
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