Analysing aggregate clinical data to support evaluation of the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program, 2014-16

Alyson Wright, Helen Cameron, Yvette Roe, Ray Lovett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the change in recording of client population smoking attributes (smoking status recorded and smoking status) in Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS)-funded services compared with non-funded services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 2014-16.

Methods: The study included a cohort of 152 Aboriginal-community controlled services with aggregate client smoking data from 2014 to 2016. Negative binomial regression was used to assess change in smoking status recorded and smoking status between TIS and non-TIS funded organisations. The models controlled for size of client population, jurisdiction and remoteness.

Results: From 2014 to 2016, the overall reporting rate (change in recording of smoking status) of client smoking status was 1.58-fold higher (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30-1.91; P < 0.001) in TIS-funded than non-TIS-funded services after controlling for year, remoteness and their interaction. The highest change in reporting of client smoking status was for TIS-funded services in remote areas (reporting ratio 6.55; 95% CI 5.18-8.27; P < 0.001). In 2016, TIS-funded services reported higher overall levels of recording client smoking status (current, ex- and non-smokers) than non-TIS funded services (RR 1.11; 95% CI 1.00-1.28; P < 0.001). There was no significant change in the reporting of smokers, ex-smokers or non-smokers over the three reporting periods.

Conclusion: The analysis shows higher reporting of the proportion of the service client population for services funded under the TIS program compared with non-TIS-funded services. Existing evidence suggests that following-up smokers with targeted clinical interventions once they have had smoking status recorded could reduce smoking rates in the long term. The public health contribution of this study has defined one method for assessing smoking attributes when using aggregate health service data. This method could be applied to future tobacco control programs in health services.

What is known about the topic?: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking prevalence is high. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary healthcare providers' national key performance indicators (nKPIs) are one data source that can track changes over time in smoking in clients of these services.

What does this paper add?: This paper presents the first analytical study and evaluation of the nKPI dataset items on smoking.

What are the implications for practitioners?: There is value in analysing routinely collected data in program evaluations. The method used in this paper demonstrates one approach that could be used to assess smoking indicators and their changes over time in TIS program evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Early online date27 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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