A stronger performance and reporting framework can substantially improve Australian healthcare and boost its efficiency, according to a new discussion paper.
The Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, which acts as the research arm of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), recently released an issues brief titled ‘Can we improve the health system with performance reporting?’ The paper looks at the potential benefits performance reporting can bring to Australia’s healthcare sector, taking into account past case studies in Australia and abroad.
According to Alison Verhoeven, chief executive of the AHHA, performance reporting is by no means a novel concept in Australian healthcare – a case in point being the National Health Performance Authority’s recent publication of 2013 public hospital emergency wait-time data. However, there are many areas for improvement.
“Performance reporting is not new in Australia. There is a long history of reporting on various hospital and health indicators,” said Ms Verhoeven.
“If the goal is to help local health services and the health system understand where performance can be improved and identify effective practices to be taken up, then efforts should be made to develop more timely data collection, analysis and reporting.”
Krister Partel, policy analyst at the AHHA’s Deeble Institute, added that evidence gained from the institute’s research strongly supports the increased and optimised use of “targets, performance monitoring and both their public and non-public reporting as drivers of quality improvements and clinical outcomes in health systems”.
The institute’s issues brief includes an in-depth case study on how the use of targets and performance reporting has improved healthcare outcomes in the UK. To combat a star rating system that was plagued with inefficiencies, a non-departmental public body, the Care Quality Commission, was established in 2009 and implemented in 2013.
The new system proposes hospital-level ratings across England, which are updated with real-time data and provided with detailed context to make better sense of the information. By following in the UK’s footsteps and implementing more stringent performance reporting measures, government healthcare in Australia could be on track to improve as well.
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