The State Government’s Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Sector in Tasmania of November 2020 includes an action to identify a clinical information system to support improved data sharing between treatment providers and Governments.
The Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council (ATDC) has partnered with the Tasmanian Department of Health and Primary Health Tasmania to develop an Options Paper that defines how data sharing can be implemented and improved.
Sharing of data between services isn’t simple; there is no quick and easy solution to suit all users.
A mix of data is reported by treatment providers, quarterly, six-monthly, and annually. Detailed activity data is reported annually to a national standard. Data ranges from treatment events to psychosocial measures and summarised activity data that can’t be ‘joined up’. And it can be up to 15 months old before it’s submitted and able to be used. Treatment providers also can’t see real time information that shows where a client can be given the right help at the right time.
Sharing both data and information can provide many benefits to consumers, treatment providers, and government. Some examples:
- Clients should need to tell their story once, and then updates and other information at future visits;
- Client history should preferably be stored in one place;
- Clients’ outcomes can be improved through access to more personalised and integrated services;
- Treatment providers should be able to see where a client might be best assisted;
- Treatment providers should be able to use aggregated sector data to analyse and support their treatment planning and activities;
- Trends on drugs of dependence, treatment types and activity, treatment lengths, and referrals should be able to be viewed and analysed by all users; and
- Planners should be able to analyse demographics, co-occurring conditions, outcomes, activities and funding data.
Part of ATDC’s task is to identify how data is currently collected and reported, what types of data and IT systems are needed, what should be done to implement a new system, how it can be done, and what resources are needed to assist with those changes.
Some of the options we’ll investigate for this first stage include:
- Provide a clinical information system that service providers could adopt to record information. Data analysis/reporting would be built-in. Live waiting list viewing and other real-time information could be available.
- A mixed environment, supporting existing clinical information systems and a shared system, where information could be combined and allowing analysis.
- Automatic real-time electronic transfer from existing systems to a shared storage system. Some providers’ systems have similar capabilities built-in. Data could then be analysed/reported through a web system.
Two drafts of the Options Paper will be released to the sector for comment. The first, in July, will provide ideas and questions on a data sharing strategy. The second draft, around September-October, will include detailed recommendations for a way forward. Comments and feedback on both of these versions will be very welcome.
This project is very important for the sector, setting a strategy for coming years. Progress after this Options Paper will take time, with quite a bit of further planning needed for implementation.
We urge you to ask any questions, raise concerns, or provide input and feedback at any time. Please feel free to get in touch with Scott@atdc.org.ag for anything related to data sharing in the ATOD sector.