Key findings: Total potentially preventable hospitalisations
Nationally, in 2013–14 there were 600,267 hospitalisations for the 22 conditions that are considered potentially preventable. This represented 6% of 9.7 million hospital admissions in that year for public and private hospitals.
Potentially preventable hospitalisations also accounted for nearly 2.4 million bed days, equivalent to 8% of all hospital bed days.
Some people are more likely to be admitted for a potentially preventable hospitalisation than others. In 2013–14, of all potentially preventable hospitalisations, one in five hospitalisations (20%) occurred among people aged 80 years and over, and just over half (51%) were among people aged 60 years and over (Appendix 1).
Accordingly, potentially preventable hospitalisation rates have been age-standardised to enable fairer comparisons between geographic areas. The following findings highlight which Primary Health Network (PHN) areas have higher or lower rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations and bed days.
Variation in hospital bed days
How long patients stay in hospital can have a significant impact for both patients and hospitals. A shorter length of stay is typically considered more efficient, making beds available more quickly to provide care for more patients, as well as reducing the cost per patient.
However, stays that are too short may reduce the quality of care and patients that are sent home before they are ready may experience poorer outcomes.
In 2013, the Authority reported large differences across Australia’s public hospitals in the average length of stay for similar patients with conditions such as COPD and heart failure, even among hospitals of similar size and location (Appendix 3).
In 2013–14, the percentage of potentially preventable hospitalisations that were same-day varied across PHN areas, ranging from 23% in Hunter New England & Central Coast PHN (NSW) to 41% in Perth North PHN (Table 1).
Information on the percentage of same-day hospitalisations and number of bed days for these conditions across PHN areas is summarised in Table 1. A profile for each PHN is provided in the Primary Health Network profiles section and supplementary data are available to download at http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au
Table 1: Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH) and bed days, by Primary Health Network area, 2013–14
|Primary Health Network Area||Age–standardised rate per 100,000||Number of PPH*||Percentage PPH same day†||Total bed days‡|
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Central & Eastern Sydney||1,896||28,566||29.0%||124,531|
|Hunter New England & Central Coast||2,249||32,609||23.1%||140,925|
|Nepean Blue Mountains||2,229||7,948||26.2%||30,911|
|South Eastern NSW||2,224||15,756||28.1%||69,717|
|South Western Sydney||2,336||21,127||27.8%||87,753|
|North Western Melbourne||2,291||33,049||37.0%||130,578|
|South Eastern Melbourne||2,395||36,109||38.7%||142,061|
|Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast||2,929||26,883||35.0%||94,980|
|Darling Downs & West Moreton||2,944||16,383||30.2%||61,638|
|AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY|
|Australian Capital Territory||1,845||6,736||34.3%||28,730|
* There are 22 conditions for which a hospitalisation is considered potentially preventable. Hospitalisations from public and private hospitals are included.
† Admitted patients who are admitted to hospital and discharged on the same day as a percentage of potentially preventable hospitalisations.
‡ Bed days are the number of days an admitted patient is in hospital.
Notes: Numbers of potentially preventable hospitalisations and bed days relate to the size of Primary Health Network populations. More information and data can be found at http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au and in this report’s Technical Supplement and Glossary.
Sources: National Health Performance Authority analysis of Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set 2013–14, data supplied March 2015; and Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population 30 June 2013.