Using population health surveys to provide information on access to and use of quality primary health care

Aust Health Rev. 2006 Nov;30(4):485-95. doi: 10.1071/ah060485.


Objective: Currently, primary health care (PHC) is under-represented in health statistics due to the lack of a comprehensive PHC data collection. This research explores the utility of population health surveys to address questions relating to access to and use of PHC, using diabetes as an example.

Methods: Drawing on published material relating to diabetes management, we developed a conceptual framework of access to and use of quality PHC. Using this framework we examined three recent population-based health surveys - the 2001 National Health Survey, 2002-03 NSW Health Survey, and AusDiab - to identify relevant information collection.

Results: We identified seven domains comprising aspects of quality PHC for people with diabetes. For each domain we proposed associated indicators. In critiquing the three population health surveys in relation to these indicators, we identified strengths and weaknesses of the data collections.

Conclusion: This approach could inform the development of questions and extension of population health surveys to provide a better understanding of access to and use of quality PHC in Australia. The additional information would complement other data collections with a community-based perspective and contribute to the development of PHC policy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs
  • New South Wales
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*