This report summarises the information provided for Australia to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Health Care Quality and Outcomes (HCQO) 2021 data collection. Data submitted to the HCQO collection are published in OECD.Stat, and selected indicators are also published by the OECD in Health at a glance 2021.

The OECD’s HCQO project is an international project aimed at developing ‘a set of indicators that reflect a robust picture of health care quality that can be reliably reported across countries using comparable data’ (Kelley & Hurst 2006:9). This report compares the latest data available for Australia with the data supplied by Australia for previous years, and with the same year (or nearest year) data reported by the OECD for other countries.

Australia is generally considered to have a high-quality health care system, delivering good health outcomes for the population (Schneider et al. 2021). Against a range of health indicators, Australia compares favourably with other developed countries (AIHW 2020). Nevertheless, the safety and quality of health care in Australia is of ongoing interest to health care planners, providers and users, and efforts continue to maintain and improve the performance of health care services.

The 2019–2020 bushfires and the ongoing management of COVID-19 have especially highlighted the importance of ensuring Australia’s health systems can respond effectively to current and changing needs. ­