Meta-evaluation of the Australian Better Health Initiative

Project Info


  • Australian Government Department of Health

Client Type

  • Commonwealth department

Financial Year

  • 2009-10

Health Areas

  • Chronic Disease
  • Primary health

Service Provided

  • Health program evaluations


  • National

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) engaged HMA to implement a meta-evaluation of the Australian Better Health Initiative (ABHI), a four year, $500 million initiative funded jointly by the Commonwealth and the States and Territories. The aims of ABHI were to support an integrated approach to the prevention, early identification, and management of chronic disease across all Australian jurisdictions by addressing five priority areas: promoting healthy lifestyles, supporting the early detection of lifestyle risks and chronic disease, supporting lifestyle and risk modification, encouraging active patient self-management of chronic disease and improving the integration and coordination of care. The key tasks of the ABHI meta-evaluation included:

  • thematic analysis of ABHI projects in all priority areas against four key evaluation areas: system changes, system practices changes, impact of system practice changes and population. The analysis included detailed consideration of nine ‘flagship’ projects (including a ‘systems impact and assessment’ based on best-practice models of care for chronic disease and economic analysis of a selection of flagship projects), plus an overview of the remaining ABHI projects (approximately 100 projects) including qualitative review of Indigenous-focused projects
  • stakeholder consultations with representatives from all jurisdictions to review the national coordination of the initiative and assess the costs of implementing ABHI
  • a trend analysis of the use of the new Medical Benefit Schedule (MBS) items introduced as a part of ABHI over three time points: Item 717 – 45 year old health check, Item 871 – cancer case conference led by a medical practitioner, and Item 872 – participation by a medical practitioner in a cancer case conference, and
  • a research study to examine GP use of the 45 year old health check (MBS item 717), patients’ responses to the health check and the patients’ journey through the continuum of the healthcare system (improved referral pathways).

Findings from the meta-evaluation were presented to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The project commenced in August 2008 and was completed in June 2010.