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Draft report

Voluntary Indigenous identifier (VII) Framework: a framework for the collection, release, use and publication of VII data

Draft for consultation
Data collection platforms Data protection Health data Electronic health records First Peoples health Australia

The Framework for the Collection, Release, Use and Publication of Voluntary Indigenous Identifier Data (VII Data Framework) is a set of guidelines that direct how VII data is collected and used.

Since 2002, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been able to have their status recorded confidentially on a database called the Voluntary Indigenous Identifier (VII). By October 2019, 599,000 people had enrolled on the VII database.

Key points:

  • Data from the VII is used to produce a range of statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s use of Medicare. This data informs Indigenous health policy and expenditure, and is reported in a range of publications including those which monitor progress towards closing the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians. As the majority of primary health care services delivered in Australia attract Medicare billing, data generated using the VII can also be used to infer overall access to primary health care among Indigenous Australians as compared to the non-Indigenous population.
  • Not all health services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are recorded in the Medicare database. Services that are not eligible for a Medicare benefit, such as those delivered in a State or Territory funded service, in a correctional institution or some private hospital services, are not represented in Medicare data.
  • VII data access will only be granted for a stated purpose and cannot be used, shared or published for any other purpose. All requests for VII data that is not contained in the annual statistical report are considered under the Department’s Data Access and Release Policy and assessed through the Data Request Assessment Panel process.
  • Medicare data should be interpreted in light of differing levels of access by patients to the Medicare system. Medicare use decreases in more remote areas, which is probably in part due to the generally lower availability of primary health care services in more remote areas and the greater costs involved in accessing those services that are available. While the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in major cities or regional areas, a greater proportion of Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians live in remote and very remote areas.

This document is intended for data users and potential data users to set out the rules and principles used by the Department when making decisions about the collection, release, use and publication of VII data. It also sets out the legal and ethical obligations for data users, and provides information about the quality of VII data and estimates of Medicare data produced using the VII.

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