Highlighting Allied Health’s value in improving health informatics through a standardised data set for NSW

Mr Min Jiat Teng1

1NSW Health

Background: Allied Health in NSW have been collecting clinical, administrative and activity data since 2001. The lack of a standardised electronic system and an agreed data set has led to localised collections of information.  Data quality is further degraded as stakeholders are poorly invested in the data journey. This means benchmarking and monitoring of services throughout the state was near impossible, making it difficult to ascertain the true value of Allied Health.

Aim: To update and standardise the NSW AH MDS as an extension to the Ministry of Health’s core data set.

Design: A review of the MDS is compared to current publications to investigate its uses and quality. Consultations were conducted with Allied Health disciplines, data coordinators, and various end-users at the Ministry of Health to update the current data set. The final MDS will drive electronic data collection tools, provide data governance and be presented to the Allied Health Professions through multiple platforms.

Results: This project is still progressing. 85% of disciplines provided their expertise during the first stage in updating the MDS. Disciplines with current codesets recognise the requirement to update it to reflect their current needs, which most of them have used to support department operations or patient outcomes. The next phase is to finalise the codeset for disciplines who do not have an existing codeset.

Impact: We anticipate this will improve NSW Allied Health’s data quality, allowing better confidence in using data for care planning as decision support tools. By linking this to the Ministry’s core data set, a patient’s journey through the health system is better understood. We will also realise our value by providing more accurate information for activity-based management, workforce resourcing and benchmarking models of care.


Min Jiat has been working as a Physiotherapist in NSW Health for the last 10 years. He has keen interests in how data can assist in service planning and patient care. With the advancement of eHealth, data collection and analysis are becoming more available and transparent. This has led Min Jiat to question whether a standardised state-level Allied Health data set can lead to better understanding of the true value of Allied Health services and it’s impact on the health system.

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