Hospital complications show need for more preventive health: RACGP President

Amanda Lyons

5/02/2018 4:30:25 PM

Dr Bastian Seidel has recommended a greater focus on preventive health in response to a report on patient complication rates in Australian hospitals.

Dr Bastian Seidel wants more government focus on supportive preventive care to help people avoid entering the hospital system.
Dr Bastian Seidel wants more government focus on supportive preventive care to help people avoid entering the hospital system.

The Grattan Institute’s All complications should count: Using our data to make hospitals safer suggests data on the risk of patient complication in Australian hospitals should be made public to provide better transparency for patients and health professionals.
However, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP the government should also consider increased funding and support for healthcare at an earlier stage of the patient journey.
‘The focus must turn to supporting the preventive medical care delivered by specialist GPs so Australian patients don’t end up in expensive hospitals,’ he said.
‘Access to patient complication rates would assist GPs in their referral decisions. But what is more important is that GPs are better supported to prevent having to make these referral decisions in the first place: patients want health, not necessarily treatment.’
The Grattan Institute report found significant variation in the risk of patient complication across Australian hospitals, with the worst performers displaying a rate four times higher than the best. But although hospital safety statistics are collected, they are not made public to patients, doctors or hospitals themselves.
The authors of the report, led by Grattan Institute Health Program Director Stephen Duckett, believe this situation needs to change for the benefit of patients and health professionals.
‘Patients have a right to know the data on complication rates in different hospitals and for different procedures, so they – and their GPs – can make better-informed decisions about how and where they are treated,’ the authors wrote.
‘Doctors and hospitals need to know how they are performing compared to their peers, so that they can learn from the best-performing hospitals and clinicians.’
The report found that one in every nine patients who enters a hospital in Australia experiences a complication, which translates into about 900,000 patients each year. If a patient stays overnight, the rate increases to one in four, or about 750,000 patients a year. It is estimated that if all Australian hospitals lifted their safety performance to the level of the best 10%, the rates of patient complication across the country would fall by more than a quarter.

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Li N   5/03/2018 9:46:06 PM

Very interesting.

So if a hospital has, say an outbreak of an infection in the vicinity, and have lots of patients that they help out with ICU care - I wonder if that would show up in the statistic as a hospital with lots of complication?

In the same way, hospitals that take on complicated cases without referring would have more complicated cases?

Just a thought...