The 15th Australia’s Health report, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, was published on 13 September 2016.

Chapter 7 of the report contains some indicators of health system performance, including the number of hospitalisations involving an adverse event. Adverse events are defined as incidents in which harm resulted to a person receiving health care. They include infections, falls resulting in injuries, and problems with medication and medical devices. Some adverse events may be preventable. The report states:

From 2007-08 to 2013-14, hospitalisations with adverse events increased from 4.8 to 5.6 per 100 hospitalisations. This may reflect an increase in adverse event rates, but may also reflect changing patient profiles and/or an increasing focus on the safety and quality of hospital care and good reporting of relevant data.

In 2013-14, adverse events were more likely to be reported for overnight hospitalisations than for same-day hospitalisations (11.2 and 1.7 per 100 hospitalisations, respectively); subacute and non-acute care hospitalisations than for acute care hospitalisations (10.5 and 5.4 per 100 hospitalisations, respectively); and emergency admissions than for non-emergency admissions (9.9 and 4.1 per 100 hospitalisations, respectively).

Chapter 6 provides more detail:

In 2013-14:

  • almost 547,000 hospitalisation reports indicated that one or more adverse events had resulted in, or affected the hospitalisation. These reports accounted for about 6.7 per 100 hospitalisations in public hospitals and 4.1 per 100 hospitalisations in private hospitals (Figure 6.14.2). The data for public hospitals are not comparable with the data for private hospitals because their casemixes differ and recording practices may be different
  • the most common adverse event groups reported for public hospitals were Procedures causing abnormal reactions/complications (52%) and Adverse effects of drugs, medicaments and biological substances (37%)
  • the most common adverse event group reported for private hospitals was Procedures causing abnormal reactions/complications (70%)
  • overnight hospitalisations had higher rates of adverse events (11 per 100) than same-day hospitalisations (1.7 per 100)
  • hospitalisations for subacute and non-acute care had higher rates of adverse events (10.5 per 100) than acute care hospitalisations (5.4 per 100)
  • emergency hospitalisations had higher rates of adverse events (9.9 per 100) than non-emergency hospitalisations (4.1 per 100).

Unplanned re-admissions are identified in Chapter 6 as another indicator of health system performance:

In 2013-14, rates of readmission to the same public hospital were 33 per 1,000 hospitalisations for Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy and 3.1 per 1,000 for Cataract extractions. The rate for Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy readmissions was higher than in 2011-12, when it was 28 per 1,000, but similar to 2012-13 (33). Cataract extraction readmission rates were similar for all 3 years (3.2 per 1,000 in 2011-12 and 3.4 in 2012-13) (AIHW 2013, 2014).

With thanks to Associate Professor Tina Cockburn for noting this report.

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