01.Health system performance reporting
Most people receive excellent care in Australia’s hospitals but all too often cases there are cases where things go wrong. This is not surprising: Australian hospitals are dangerous places. As many as 10% of people admitted to hospital in Australia may suffer harm as a direct result of the care they receive.
As an example, according to Professor Peter Collignon, Director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Canberra Hospital, up to 4,000 people each year contract an infection from an intravenous line – a largely preventable problem. This is tragic for the people involved but it also puts additional pressure on the health system through unnecessary admissions and longer stays.
It’s clear there’s room for improvement.
Funding is part of the solution. There is no doubt additional resources are needed in many parts of the health system, including hospitals.
But funding alone won’t improve bad practices. Consumers want to know that the care they will receive is safe and of high-quality. While there are many initiatives in Australia to improve quality and safety in the health system, progress has been slow and there is very little public reporting about safety and quality.
What we want
- Public reporting of comparative performance information (eg adverse events, near misses and the outcomes of surgery and other forms of care) for all public and private hospitals.
Public reporting of this information will empower consumers to make better choices, and assist governments and administrators to identify and address problems before they reach crisis-point.
There is also evidence that public reporting of comparative performance information improves the quality and safety of healthcare. It prompts hospitals and surgeons to examine their practices and make improvements in comparison with reported benchmarks. Better quality and safety results in better outcomes for patients and reductions in the cost of hospital stays
The State and Commonwealth governments will shortly be renegotiating the Australian Health Care Agreements, the Commonwealth-State funding agreement for hospitals in Australia. We think this presents an opportunity for the Federal Government to lead improvements to performance reporting in the public hospital system.
What we’re doing
CHOICE has included better health system performance reporting as one of its priorities for the new government.
Over the next six months, we will meet with relevant stakeholders and campaign for better health system performance reporting as a part of the Australian Health Care Agreements.
CHOICE is also working with the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) to campaign for a fair and affordable health system which is focused on the consumer. Find out more about CHOICE's involvement with AHCRA.