If Only Numbers Count: Performance indicators for community health (2003)

Gwyn Jolley

This report presents the outcomes from a study to examine the use of performance indicators as an evaluation tool for the community health sector in Australia. The purpose of the study was to investigate performance measurement in primary health care services provided by the community health sector, assess the effectiveness of the performance measurement approach and consider future options.

Study methods included a review of national and international literature on performance measurement in the public sector and in the primary health care and community health sectors; interviews with eleven key stakeholders in South Australia; and development of sample performance indicators for community health based on the National Health Performance Committee Framework.

In a climate of fiscal constraint and evidence-based practice, the community health sector is being asked to provide evidence for the effectiveness of its approach and the achievement of enhanced health for the community. The challenge is to obtain and present this evidence while acknowledging the large role played by the social and environmental determinants of health outside the control of the sector, and protecting the value-base of primary health care as reflected in the emphasis on health promotion, participation, collaboration and equity.

This report is free to download If Only Numbers Count.pdf