What was the patient experience of the health system?

This section presents information on the patient’s experience during their hospital stay. However, some of the information may also inform on the patient’s experience across different parts of Australia’s health system.

  • ‘Potentially preventable hospitalisations’—may relate to the provision of primary care and community-based health care
  • ‘Conditions that arose during the hospital stay’—some conditions may relate to the provision of hospital care, but others may relate to the provision of primary care
  • ‘Unplanned readmissions’—some readmissions may relate to the provision of hospital care, but others may relate to the unavailability of appropriate post-discharge care in the community.

This section also includes the NHA performance indicator ‘Patient experience’—presenting survey results for questions related to admitted patient care.

Performance indicator: Potentially preventable hospitalisations

Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) are those conditions where hospitalisation could have potentially been prevented through the provision of appropriate individualised preventative health interventions and early disease management, usually delivered in primary care and community-based care settings.

There are 3 broad categories of PPHs:

  • Vaccine-preventable—diseases that can be prevented by proper vaccination. The conditions are considered to be preventable, rather than the hospitalisation.
  • Acute—conditions that may not be preventable, but theoretically would not result in hospitalisation if adequate and timely care (usually non-hospital) was received.
  • Chronic—conditions that may be preventable through behaviour modification and lifestyle change, but can also be managed effectively through timely care (usually non-hospital) to prevent deterioration and hospitalisation.

Between 2013–14 and 2017–18:

  • overall rates of PPHs increased from 24.4 per 1,000 population to 27.9 per 1,000
  • rates of Acute PPHs and Chronic PPHs (excluding diabetes) decreased.

In 2017–18:

  • 748,000 separations in public and private hospitals were classified as PPHs
  • PPHs accounted for 6.6% of all hospital separations—8.6% of public hospital separations and 3.6% of private hospital separations
  • more than three-quarters of PPHs (78%) were reported for public hospitals
  • diabetes complications accounted for about 15% of separations that were classified as chronic condition PPHs.
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Performance indicator: Unplanned readmissions

Unplanned or unexpected readmissions within 28 days of selected types of surgery are identified as those with a principal diagnosis related to an adverse event.

In 2017–18:

  • rates of unplanned or unexpected readmissions were highest for Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy and Hysterectomy (39 and 29 per 1,000 hospitalisations, respectively)
  • for Cataract extraction, a readmission within 28 days was reported for 3 in every 1,000 hospitalisations.
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Performance indicator: Patient experience

This section presents selected information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2017–18 Patient Experience Survey.

‘Patient satisfaction/experience’ is an NHA performance indicator in the outcome area of Australians have positive health and aged care experiences which take account of individual circumstances and care needs.

At least 88% of patients responded ‘always’ or ‘often’ to each of these questions for both doctors and nurses. About 92% of patients responded ‘always’ or ‘often’ to the questions about whether the doctors or nurses showed respect to them.

Where to go for more information

For more information on patient experience of the health system, see Chapter 8 of Admitted patient care 2017–18: Australian hospital statistics and the ABS Patient experience survey 2017–18.