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Population Health, Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) Program


  • Three Medicare locals and Abt formed a primary health network.
  • Abt created the PERU monitoring and evaluation unit.
  • PERU’s needs assessment recommended approaches for alcohol and drug misuse.
The Challenge

Abt and three Medicare locals-- Central Queensland, Wide Bay, and Sunshine Coast--formed a consortium to establish a primary health network (PHN).  To strengthen the partnership, Abt recruited a team of professionals and established the Population Health, Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU). PERU’s goal is to help the PHN finalize a needs assessment and establish a foundation for monitoring and evaluation through capacity building across the region that encompasses and recognizes the meaningful use of data.

The Approach

The needs assessment provided an overview of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of PHN populations, Central Queensland, Wide Bay, and the Sunshine Coast regarding the misuse of alcohol and other drugs (AoD), risks, the impact of these risks, and service-based responses to these risks. PERU used validated quantitative data and qualitative data derived from community consultations. PERU used national, state, and where possible local data to improve the strategic and operational utility of sociodemographic and health service information.

The Results

The report highlighted the harmful impact of AoD misuse such as overdose, self-harm, suicide, death or disability, accidental poisoning, infections, behavioral and social disturbance leading to family and relationship breakdown, domestic violence, child abuse, financial hardship, and crime. The report recommended the need for five streams of work to ensure planned services respond better to population needs in relation to the misuse of AoD. They were data management, data analytics, modelling, monitoring, and evaluation.

Australia & Asia Pacific