Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14 - Report - Introduction

Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14

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About the data

Information in this report was calculated from the Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Dataset (APC NMDS) for 2013–14 and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population at 30 June 2013.

Data from the APC NMDS have been mapped to the area in which people live, rather than the areas in which the hospital services were provided. Information is reported for 31 PHNs and for 333 smaller units of geography called Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s), which are regions defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In this report the term ‘local areas’ refers to SA3s.

In January 2015, a new national standard for potentially preventable hospitalisations was agreed by national health data standards committees (for details see link, opens in a new window.). To maintain national consistency in reporting, the Authority adopted this standard.

For a summary of changes between the old and new specification, see this report’s Technical Supplement.

A potentially preventable hospitalisation is an admission that ends in discharge, transfer to another facility, change of care type (for example, acute to rehabilitation) or death. People of all ages are included, although some conditions have specific age restrictions. If a person has more than one admission, then each hospitalisation is included individually. In some states, patients were admitted to hospital but remained in the emergency department for their entire stay. These patients were included in the report.

Importantly, results for 2013–14 are not comparable to previously published data in Healthy Communities: Potentially avoidable hospitalisations in 2011–12. Data for 2011–12 are not comparable because they are based on a different indicator specification.

Potentially preventable hospitalisations data for 2012–13 published on the MyHealthyCommunities website are also not comparable to results for 2013–14. The introduction of a new approach to Commonwealth funding of public hospitals in 2012 resulted in changes in coding practice and hospital admission policies which have affected the comparability of data between these two years.

Age-standardised rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations were calculated using crude rates for each five-year age group within a geographic area which were then weighted to the standard population of Australia.

For more information, see this report’s Technical Supplement.

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