Improved efficiency in public hospital care a good thing—but not the only thing

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A report released today showing improved cost efficiencies in major public hospitals is welcome—but it’s not everything, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said today.

Ms Verhoeven was commenting on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Costs of admitted patients in public hospitals from 2012–13 to 2014–15.

‘We really need more information on quality and patient outcomes in order to get a more holistic picture of the performance of our hospitals and the value of care provided’, Ms Verhoeven said.

The AIHW report showed that in the three years to 2014–15, hospital activity rose by 6% in line with population growth, while spending rose only 5%.

The cost of delivering an average service to acute admitted patients ranged from $3,300 to $6,400, depending on the hospital.

‘There are many reasons for these variations, and while some have been accounted for in the report, we really need more work on measures that combine quality and cost’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘We urge governments in Australia to go down this path in the interest of value-based care—in other words healthcare that brings the best changes in individual health status per health dollar spent.

‘We also need more timely data—knowing what happened three years ago is not all that useful in planning right now.

‘The older the data are, the more uncertain things become in planning and funding future care.

‘More certainty in funding hospitals means we can avoid disputes like the current funding disagreement between the Commonwealth and the states where the states and territories are claiming they are owed money by the Commonwealth for procedures already carried out in public hospitals.

‘The dispute has been referred to the forthcoming COAG first ministers meeting on 12 December 2018 and we urge that this be resolved swiftly in the interests of patient care’, Ms Verhoeven said.


Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501