More about the contextual measures

Cost per admission

Cost per admission is a measure developed by the Authority that uses the same subset of costs as in Comparable Cost of Care. However, unlike Comparable Cost of Care, it does not adjust for the complexity of patients or known legitimate cost drivers.

This measure has been used to analyse the variation in costs for 16 selected conditions and procedures across Australia’s major public hospitals included in this report.

Because the cost figures applied to the 16 conditions and procedures use a subset of total costs, as noted above, it is important to recognise this means the cost figures quoted do not represent the full costs of treating these patients. A list showing which costs have been excluded can be seen in Table 1 (in the column ‘Comparable Cost of Care’). While the costs are not complete, this methodology ensures the costs quoted are fully comparable across hospitals.

Length of stay

Length of stay is a measure of the average duration in hospital for patients admitted for a particular condition or procedure, counted in days.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has recognised length of stay as a measure of hospital efficiency, by including it as one of the indicators in the Performance and Accountability Framework, the document endorsed by all Australian governments that guides the Authority’s work.

In 2013, the Authority reported large differences across Australia’s public hospitals in the average length of stay for similar patients, even among hospitals of similar size and geographic location.7

Accordingly, this report includes previously published information on length of stay in 2011–12 among patients who stayed at least one night in hospital for one of 16 conditions and procedures. This information has been provided to make explicit the link between incremental increases in costs for each additional day spent in hospital. It also ensures the length of stay data reflects the same data period as used for the cost data in this report.