Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN): Analysis and Reporting

The Australian National Mental Health Strategy has emphasised service quality and effectiveness, and stressed that good information systems are necessary to achieve these goals. The systematic implementation of routine outcome measurement has been a priority, and the development of service-level infrastructure was promoted through the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC). The Australian Health Care Agreements require the collection of de-identified, patient-level data from all public sector mental health services for the National Outcomes and Casemix Collection (NOCC). This information is to be used to plan, resource, manage and deliver mental health services in a manner that optimally meets community needs.

The NOCC data has been managed through the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN) since 2003. The Analysis and Reporting functions of AMHOCN are led by Professor Philip Burgess. His group is responsible for the outcome analyses, reporting and development component as well as the casemix analysis, reporting and development framework component.

Definition and Cost Drivers for Mental Health Services Project

Under the Australian National Health Reform Act 2011, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority is to determine the classification and coding standards that will be used for mental health services in Australia for activity based funding purposes. To achieve this, a nationally consistent definition of mental health services and an understanding of the cost drivers, based on that definition, are required.

Led by Harvey Whiteford, Philip Burgess and Meredith Harris the Mental Health Policy and Services Research (MH-PASR) team along with colleagues from the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and expert consultants Nick Legge and Gavin Stewart were awarded the contract to recommend a suitable definition for mental health services in Australia for activity based funding purposes and to identify the associated cost drivers for services that meet this definition. The work involved reviewing Australian and international literature and consulting with relevant stakeholders to develop a recommended definition of mental health services that can be consistently applied within the mental health sector and across states and territories. The consortium also reviewed the Australian and international literatures on the cost drivers for mental health services, and collected and analysed data from state/territory mental health services. The analysis and further consultation with stakeholders sought to identify principal cost drivers for the delivery of mental health services and consider options for the classification of services.

This project was completed in June 2013. Detailed project reports can be downloaded from: http://www.ihpa.gov.au/internet/ihpa/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-health