Australia’s National Health Programs: An Ontological Mapping

Arkalgud Ramaprasad, Khin Than Win, Thant Syn, Ghassan Beydoun, Linda Dawson


Australia has a large number of health program initiatives whose comprehensive assessment will help refine and redefine priorities by highlighting areas of emphasis, under-emphasis, and non-emphasis. The objectives of our research are to: (a) systematically map all the programs onto an ontological framework, and (b) systemically analyse their relative emphases at different levels of granularity. We mapped all the health program initiatives onto an ontology with five dimensions, namely: (a) Policy-scope, (b) Policy-focus, (c) Outcomes, (d) Type of care, and (e) Population served. Each dimension is expanded into a taxonomy of its constituent elements. Each combination of elements from the five dimensions is a possible policy initiative component. There are 30,030 possible components encapsulated in the ontology. It includes, for example: (a) National financial policies on accessibility of preventive care for family, and (b) Local-urban regulatory policies on cost of palliative care for individual-aged. Four of the authors mapped all of Australia’s health programs and initiatives on to the ontology. Visualizations of the data are used to highlight the relative emphases in the program initiatives. The dominant emphasis of the program initiatives is: [National] [educational, personnel-physician, information] policies on [accessibility, quality] of [preventive, wellness] care for the [community]. However, although (a) information is emphasized technology is not; and (b) accessibility and quality are emphasized cost, satisfaction, and quality are not. The ontology and the results of the mapping can help systematically reassess and redirect the relative emphases of the programs and initiatives from a systemic perspective.


ontology; health initiatives; health program; ontological framework

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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