​The NSW MDS DATS data collection provides consistent information about the clients and activities of NSW Health funded drug and alcohol treatment services. The collection, along with other information sources, is used to inform policy and strategies relating to the drug and alcohol treatment sector.

Collecting and reporting on MDS DATS supports the NSW Health vision that people with alcohol and other drug related harms experience person-centred, safe, high quality intervention and care.

Last updated: 20 June 2018

Key points about NSW MDS DATS

  • The NSW MDS DATS consists of over forty data elements collected by the organisation
  • throughout the course of a treatment episode with a client. The data types include administrative elements about the agency providing services, as well as elements about client demographics, client drug use and the services provided.
  • The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS NMDS), collected across all Australian states and territories, is a subset of the NSW MDS DATS.
  • The NSW Ministry of Health is the collection authority for the NSW MDS DATS. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is the collection authority for the AODTS NMDS, on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health. The NSW data for the national collection is forwarded to the AIHW by the NSW Ministry of Health annually.
  • Funded treatment providers are expected to report NSW MDS DATS monthly no later than the 21st day of the month following the month of collection.
  • Data from the MDS DATS can be used locally by organisations to better understand the clients accessing services and the services provided, as well as for broader system planning and policy development.
  • The Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA) provides its members with a secure online portal for the collection and reporting of both NSW and national data. NGOs that are not NADA members must have their own MDS DATS systems to enable collection and reporting according to the NSW Health requirements.

Practice tips for AOD Service Providers

  • Confirm with funding and contracting agencies if your organisation is within scope of the collection, and for which services, clients and activities.
  • Use the NSW Health Data Dictionary and Collection Requirements for NSW MDS DATS as a key reference to guide data collection and management.
  • Establish policy and procedures for the collection, storage, cleaning, validating and reporting of MDS DATS which comply with NSW data dictionary and collection requirements.
  • Define and communicate MDS DATS roles and responsibilities, and identify practice champions across the organisation/service.
  • Before submitting reports, conduct completeness and quality checks to ensure data accuracy and that the data is in line with service activity.
  • Align MDS DATS and other data collection with standard client assessment and discharge processes.
  • Discuss with clients why the information is being collected, how it will be used, and how their personal and health information is protected in accordance with relevant privacy acts.
  • Some data elements may be viewed as intrusive or overly personal; ensure the organisation and staff are practicing sensitive and ethical data collection, handling and reporting.
  • Record information against all data elements, even where there is a nil response from clients.
  • Analyse and use the data to inform service development as appropriate.


The NADA system for collecting and reporting MDS DATS is called NADAbase. Public treatment providers use local eMR systems for collecting and reporting MDS DATS.

Further information


Email: moh-aodsafetyquality@moh.health.nsw.gov.au

Current as at: Wednesday 20 June 2018