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The AHS is a large and complex survey to collect, process and analyse. To date the collection phase has been planned, consulted upon and has commenced its execution in the field for the general community. Enumeration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community commenced in April 2012. The high level release timetable and its elements are described below.

Processing approach

The AHS will be conducted in two parts:

  • General population (March 2011 - June 2012); and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (April 2012 - June 2013).

These collection timetables plus the subsequent processing, weighting, and analysis time will determine when data will become available. It is intended to progressively process data from interviews and biomedical tests, however, the completion of some data processing elements will be dependent on the finalisation of others and therefore completion of processing around the later elements will be the time limiting factor. The ABS will examine interim data for quality assurance purposes, begin to test the interim data against benchmarks, and to identify data elements where either confidentiality actions might be required or where relative standard errors might be larger and require some form of treatment.

It should be recognised that some data collected at interview will be relatively straight forward and not require further management post interview, however other data elements will require more detailed examination, cleaning and post processing. This latter point is particularly relevant for the nutrition components of the survey where food and supplement intakes will need to be combined with a food composition database to determine nutrient intakes. This nutrition data management will be a multi-step process that will engage FSANZ in the analysis and coding of data and development of a survey specific food and supplement composition database.

Initial and subsequent data releases

It is the intent of the ABS to process the AHS data and create base data files from which analysis can proceed in a staged manner, reflecting the different data collection and processing timetables for the different components of the survey. This will allow for data to be released in the most timely manner.

For example, information on some risk factors will be collected in the National Health Survey (NHS) component, as well as in the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) conducted later in the timetable (for example, smoking - see 'AHS Core' in Diagram 1). As there will be sufficient sample from the NHS component to report on these risk factors, estimates will be produced as part of the 'conditions and risk factors release'. When the NNPAS component is completed, a revised estimate will be produced based on the larger sample in the 'conditions and risk factors revised release'.

The key strategies for managing the information output timetable are to:
  • identify the key data elements required for processing to meet the information requirements needed early in the output timetable;
  • provide data as it becomes available through a staged release mechanism; and
  • communicate an output timetable to users for various products and the focus of the products so that users might influence their priority and anticipate their availability.


The following broad timetable is envisaged, however the finalisation of this timetable cannot occur until an assessment of the data quality, response rates and confirmation of user priorities has occurred.



Conditions and risk factors release29 October 2012Basic analysis and release tables via ABS websiteA basic analysis of the prevalence of key conditions and risk factors with a primary focus on COAG health indicators
Media Release: ‘Results from the new Australian Health Survey’A first release of results for the AHS into the public domain
User documentationUsers’ guide, Data item list, Survey questionnaire, etc

Health service usageFebruary 2013Basic analysis and release tables via ABS websiteWill focus on the health services that are used by respondents by different categories
Media Release: ‘Results from the new Australian Health Survey focused on health service usage’A release of results for the AHS into the public domain

Conditions and risk factors revised releaseMay 2013Basic analysis and release tables via ABS websiteRevised indicators from earlier releases plus additional material and depth of analysis, based on full AHS sample

Physical activity releaseJune 2013Basic analysis and release tables via ABS website and an in-depth analysis via ABS websiteWill focus on pedometer data and various physical activity indicators that have been collected in the survey
Media Release: ‘Results from the new Australian Health Survey focused on physical activity’A release of results for the AHS into the public domain

Biomedical measurementsJune 2013Basic analysis and release tables via ABS websiteFocus on the high level results from the biomedical measures collected in the survey
Media Release: ‘Results from the new Australian Health Survey focused on biomedical findings’A release of results for the AHS into the public domain

Nutrition – Foods, Nutrients and SupplementsSeptember 2013Basic analysis and release tables via ABS websiteSimilar to the Nutrition publications released in 1995

Basic CURF releases and data access toolsSecond half of 2013Unit record data and Survey Table BuilderMultiple CURFs will be released that combine the common elements of the AHS (final structures to be finalised)

The approach for the outputs for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander components (starting October 2013) are similar in nature to that of the general population survey, however careful consideration will be made regarding cultural sensitivities, ensuring robust statistical analysis and the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisors in planning the release strategy.


The proposed timetable for stakeholder consultation on output from the AHS is as follows:


ABS to present to Output Strategy to DoHASeek DoHA comments on strategy, clarity, detailAugust 2011

ABS to respond to DoHA comments ABS to update Output Strategy documentSeptember 2011

ABS to present Output Strategy to Data Users Advisory Group and Survey Reference Group for commentABS to update Output Strategy document November/December 2011

ABS to present the Output Strategy to Steering Committee ABS to update Output Strategy documentJanuary 2012

Stakeholder consultationABS to undertake consultations with key stakeholders re detailed requirementsFebruary–April 2012

ABS to generate from Output Strategy document an Operational Discussion paper plus templates, table shells, and detail re CURF development ABS to provide to Data Users Advisory Group and then place on ABS website to seek comments from wider stakeholder groupJune 2012

ABS to undertake further bilateral discussions with stakeholdersABS to filter views and inform stakeholders on outcomesJuly 2012

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