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Data improvements

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission) concluded in early 2021. The key recommendation arising from the Royal Commission was to put people at the centre of aged care. The final report and recommendations also reflected the important role that data play in enabling better aged care services for older people (for more information, see Royal Commission - Final Report). In the context of aged care data, this will require targeted actions for data improvements. 
What are we doing?

The AIHW have been funded by the Department of Health to lead the development of a National Aged Care Data Strategy, an Aged Care National Minimum Data Set and a National Aged Care Data Asset.

The definitions we are using:
National Aged Care Data Strategy (data strategy) The agreed vision for the future national aged care data system that describes why data improvements are needed and how they will be implemented.
Aged Care National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) A core set of standardised data elements agreed for mandatory collection and reporting at a national level about aged care.
National Aged Care Data Asset (data asset) A multi-source enduring linked data set that integrates people-centred data related to aged care.

The current aged care data system has many layers:


What is our goal?
There are multiple perspectives and users of aged care data, so it is critical that an aged care data system supports:
  • people to make informed choices about their care
  • services to provide safe, high-quality and dignified care
  • government to administer and evaluate the aged care system
  • secondary users of data (such as academic researchers) to study the aged care system.
What is our process?
We are undertaking a broad process of engagement to hear these different perspectives. This will take place between now and 2024:

How can you help?
We are undertaking consultations through a range of one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and via our existing advisory arrangements.
During March this year we invited comments on our Issues paper: Exploring future data and information needs for aged care and also conducted a short survey about people’s data needs. We are compiling the feedback and are documenting the key data gaps and information about how people use aged care data and what improvements are needed. Our goal is to develop a list of priorities for future data and information needs for aged care in Australia for further consultation later in the year.
We will continue consultation through this web page, with one-on-one meetings and via our existing advisory and consultative arrangements.
Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to contribute to this work.


Your personal information is protected by law, including the Privacy Act 1988. The AIHW may collect your personal information in support of these aged care data improvement activities.

The information you provide in response to this issues paper will be used by the AIHW and shared with other parties for these purposes, however your personal information will only be shared where you have agreed or it is required or authorised by law.

You can obtain more information about the way in which the AIHW will manage your personal information in our Privacy Policy at

What have we learnt so far?

We have examined the Royal Commission’s background papers, research and final recommendations, and we have undertaken further literature reviews to consider specific issues. Themes that have emerged include the need to develop common data standards, improve the timeliness of data and recognise the burden of data collection on the people participating in the aged care data system.

We are also taking into account parallel activities that the Department of Health is conducting – see Aged Care Engagement for more information on how they are consulting with the aged care sector.