Commissioning Cycle

Needs assessment

The purpose of the needs assessment is to identify population health needs and service gaps. The findings are intended to inform appropriate responses that support and strengthen our primary health system.

The needs assessment is an ongoing and iterative process. Our baseline needs assessment was submitted to the Department of Health in 2016. Since then, it has been updated annually. This process involves re-examining the health needs and service gaps of the region bydrawing on quantitative data from internal, administrative and census-based sources and qualitative data from purposeful and incidental engagement activities, including consultation with advisory groups and member networks, and surveys of stakeholders.

We are always working to improve our approach to the needs assessment and data collection process

Some examples include:

  • capturing and monitoring data in an ongoing way, to capture emerging issues and changing needs in real time
  • undertaking ‘deep dive’ assessments into targeted areas
  • improving our methods for capturing and analysing qualitative data to provide context and analytical rigour
  • drawing on data derived from the outcomes and outputs of services we have initiated and commissioned, and data derived from general practices
  • collaborating with our partners to build health intelligence
  • advocating for and participating in the conduct of research to fill evidence gaps.

Our needs assessments can be found here

Activity planning

Once needs have been identified, we work to identify and prioritise options for commissioned programs. Decision making around priorities and potential programs will consider a range of factors, including:

  • the needs of the population, and the potential of the program to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health services

  • the potential of the program to improve service integration and coordination

  • the potential of the program to improve equity of access 

  • the availability of funding, and the potential of the program to provide value for money

  • the commissioning landscape and broader sector reforms

  • our strategic objectives

  • requirements under the PHN Performance and Quality Framework.