One in every nine patients who go into hospital in Australia suffers a complication – about 900,000 patients each year. If they stay in overnight, the figure rises to one in four – about 725,000 patients each year, according to a new report from the Grattan Institute. The report – All Complications Should Count: Using our data to make hospitals safer – found that a patient’s risk of developing a complication varies dramatically depending on which hospital they go to: in some cases, the additional risk of a complication at the worst-performing hospitals can be four times higher than at the best performers. The report focused on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which includes data from all admissions to Australia’s public and private hospitals between July 2012 and June 2015.
The report concludes that private health insurers should release the information they gather on private hospitals: reducing complication rates would mean quicker recoveries and lower premiums for their members. State and territory governments should release detailed data on the performance of both public and private hospitals. This data needs to show the whole gamut of hospital performance, from catastrophic but rare errors to less harmful but prevalent complications. It should highlight the areas where there is a big gap between the best and worst performers. Governments need to set ambitious goals for every hospital – public and private – to improve their safety and quality of care. And they need to ensure the data is published widely so that patients and taxpayers can see which hospitals are improving and which are not.
- All Complications Should Count: Using our data to make hospitals safer. Grattan Institute. February 2018 (PDF)