Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Up and Over Down Under

The Australian Capital Territory, Australia's answer to Washington D.C., publishes a very detailed quarterly report on it's health care services.

Australia, like all, sorry, most, sorry, everyone except the USA, provides health insurance for all as part of the government's duty to it's citizens. The reports, which have been published starting in 2005, are easy to read, easy to understand, and provide a wealth of useful information while delivering a highly honest and transparent report on the taxpayer service. Some nice examples are wait times for surgery, often thrown out as the number one reason to avoid universal health care. For patients who needed surgery with 30 days, the median time to surgery was 14 days (down from 16 the year before).

Also of interest is the measure "unplanned return to operating theatre within an episode of care". This is a measure we can never follow in the US, as we have no episodic record, the patient bounces between a half dozen, unconnected providers. Under universal health, the system knows the patient all the way through an episode of care.

Hospital acquire bloodstream infection rates are freely posted, and even dental services are reported on.

All in all, a concise, readable report that shows us the way things should, and could be done.


Disclosures and Disclaimers


My employer is compensated through funding to provide analytical research, technology solutions, and Web-based public and private health care performance reports by the State of New York, the State of Illinois, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Commonwealth Fund and Bridges to Excellence. I am not being compensated by any of these organisations to create articles for or make edits to this Web site or any other medium; and all posts authored by me are as an individual and do not represent my employer or the agencies I work for.