Presentation of results
The web update presents information by PHN areas – 31 geographic areas covering Australia, with boundaries defined by the Australian Government Department of Health.2
The quality of estimates from the ABS Patient Experience Survey can vary substantially across PHN areas as the survey was not specifically designed to produce estimates at this level of geography. To ensure robust reporting of these data by PHN areas, suppression or interpret with caution rules were developed and applied by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Estimates of a percentage or its complement that had a relative standard error greater than 50% were suppressed. These estimates were considered unreliable for most practical purposes. The ‘interpret with caution’ flag was applied to data if the relative standard error associated with the percentage or its complement was greater than 25%. This means that the estimate has a high level of sampling error relative to its value, which must be taken into account when comparing the estimate with other values.
Data for PHN areas were suppressed if the sample size of the denominator was less than 100 people.
The estimates for the Northern Territory were not considered sufficiently representative to publish on the National overviews page of the MyHealthyCommunities website. This is because the survey excludes the Indigenous Community Strata (encompassing discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities) which comprises around 25% of the estimated resident population in the Northern Territory living in private dwellings. Estimates have been made available as part of the ‘Download the data’ Excel file with an ‘interpret with caution’ flag and caveat.
Some of the patient experience measures for 2016–17 have age standardised rates presented alongside the crude rate (direct standardisation to the 2001 Australian Standard Population). Age-standardised rates are hypothetical rates that would have been observed if the populations studied had the same age distribution as the standard population.
Age-standardised rates have been calculated for measures that have a relationship with age, and allow for comparisons across PHN areas with the influence of the different age structures removed.
Crude rates should be used for understanding the patterns of actual service use or level of experience in a particular PHN.
- Department of health 2015. Primary Health Networks (PHNs). Canberra: Department of Health. Viewed 22 June 2018, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/PHN-HomeExternal link, opens in a new window.>