Over the last decade, governments and other hospital funders have taken an increasing interest in the monitoring and planning of hospital service provision in Australia and, specifically, in containing the costs of hospitals, measuring their outputs and ensuring their services are efficient, appropriate and of high quality (Palmer & Short 1994). As a result, statistics on Australian hospitals and their patients have had an increasingly important role to play at the Commonwealth and State and Territory level, and within the private sector. Therole of the Commonwealth in funding hospital services through the Medicare agreements has, in particular, driven a need for better hospital statistics at the national level.Before the mid-1980s, hospital statistics were not regularly compiled on a national basis. There had been few efforts to ensure that definitions and terms used in the States and Territories were consistent, and attempts at comparing the performance of the public hospital sectors of the States and Territories had been difficult.In 1985, however, the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) requested that the (then) Australian Institute of Health (now the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) conduct a national study on hospital utilisation and costs. The hospital statistics report that resulted, the Hospital Utilisation and Costs Study, was based on 1985–86 data and released by the Institute in 1988 (Harvey & Mathers 1988; Mathers & Harvey 1988). It was thefirst comprehensive analysis of available information on the provision of public hospital, private hospital, nursing home and hostel services in Australia.In addition to presenting analysis of the available data, the report drew attention to the need for better and more comparable statistics to be collected on Australian hospital services. It identified gaps and deficiencies in national hospital statistics which were able to inform the Taskforce on National Hospital Statistics, established by AHMAC to review data collectionsand to make recommendations on the development of a national statistics system covering health and health related institutions. The Taskforce’s efforts led the Institute, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, State and Territory health authorities, to develop a National Minimum Data Set for Institutional Health Care. This Data Set, endorsed by AHMAC in 1990, specified the information to be collected on hospital resources and activities, and agreed national definitions for each data item. This process marked a major advance in hospital statistics, with agreement achieved for the definitions of essential terms including inpatients (now referred to as admitted patients), outpatients (now termed non-admitted patients), available beds and hospitals.
|Name||Health Services Series|
|Publisher||Australian Institute of Health and Welfare|