Healthy Communities: Patients' out-of-pocket spending on Medicare services, 2016–17 - Technical Note - Patient experiences in Australia in 2016–17

Healthy Communities: Patients' out-of-pocket spending on Medicare services, 2016–17

Patient experiences in Australia in 2016–17

The report also contains the results from the ABS 2016–17 Patient Experience Survey, collected between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

The Patient Experience Survey is conducted annually by the ABS and collects information from a representative sample of the Australian population. The Patient Experience Survey is one of several components of the Multipurpose Household Survey, as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey.

The Patient Experience Survey collects data on use and experiences of a range of health care services, including:

  • GPs
  • Medical specialists
  • Dental professionals
  • Imaging and pathology tests
  • Hospital admissions
  • Emergency department visits.

It includes data from people who used health services in the previous 12 months, as well as from those who did not, and enables analysis of health service information in relation to particular population groups. Data are also collected on selected aspects of communication between patients and health professionals.

Scope and coverage

The 2016–17 Patient Experience Survey included persons aged 15 years and over, but excluded:

  • Members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • Diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • Overseas residents in Australia
  • Members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants)
  • Persons living in non-private dwellings such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals, nursing homes, homes for people with disabilities and prisons
  • Persons resident in the Indigenous Community Strata, which includes discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

For further information refer to Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2016–17External link, opens in a new window.[http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4839.0Explanatory%20Notes12016-17?OpenDocument].

Geography

The report presents information for two Patient Experience measures by PHN areas – 31 geographic areas covering Australia, with boundaries defined by the Australian Government Department of Health (2016).

Four measures are reported by remoteness areas: Major cities, Inner regional and Outer regional/Remote/Very remote. These are classified according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2011. Remoteness areas are classified according to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (ABS 2017a).

Suppression of results

The quality of estimates from the ABS Patient Experience Survey can vary across PHN areas as the survey was not specifically designed to produce estimates at this level of geography. To ensure robust reporting of these data by PHN areas, the following suppression or ‘interpret with caution’ rules were developed and applied by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Estimates of a percentage or its complement that had a relative standard error greater than 50% were suppressed. These estimates were considered unreliable for most practical purposes.

Data for PHN areas were suppressed if the sample size of the denominator was less than 100 people.

The ‘interpret with caution’ flag was applied to data if the relative standard error associated with the percentage or its complement was greater than 25%.

Estimates for the Northern Territory were also marked with an ‘interpret with caution’ flag and caveat. This is because the survey excludes the Indigenous Community Strata (encompassing discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities) which comprises around 25% of the estimated resident population in the Northern Territory living in private dwellings.

List of patient experience indicators

The table below outlines the short and long name for each indicator included in the report. The column ‘ABS questions (2016–17)’ shows the item or items in the Patient Experience Survey questionnaire used to derive the indicator (ABS 2017b).

Short name Long name Geography ABS question (2016–17)
Cost barriers to specialist, GP, imaging or pathology Percentage of people who delayed or did not see a medical specialist, GP, get an imaging test and/or get a pathology test at least once due to cost in the last 12 months PHN All items listed below
Cost barriers to GP care Percentage of people who did not see or delayed seeing a GP at least once due to cost in the last 12 months
  • PHN
  • Remoteness area
  • GPS_Q08
  • GPS_Q08A
  • GPS_Q09
  • GPS_Q09A
Cost barriers to specialist care Percentage of people who did not see or delayed seeing a medical specialist at least once due to cost in the last 12 months Remoteness area
  • MDS_Q05
  • MDS_Q05A
  • MDS_Q06
  • MDS_Q06A
Cost barriers to imaging Percentage of people who delayed or did not have an imaging test at least once due to cost in the last 12 months Remoteness area
  • IMG_Q02
  • IMG_Q03
Cost barriers to pathology Percentage of people who delayed or did not have a pathology test at least once due to cost in the last 12 months Remoteness area
  • PTH_Q02
  • PTH_Q03

For further information refer to Web update: Patient experiences in Australia in 2016–17, Technical Note.