Australian health care system ‘needs more transparency for adverse events’

Date: Apr 24, 2017

Australia's health care system is one of the most advanced in the world, but new research has indicated that more could be done to improve the way quality failings are reported.

A KPMG report assessed 32 health care systems worldwide and found that Australia sits within the second tier of transparency, alongside the UK and New Zealand.

However, the Scandinavian nations ranked in the first tier, with systems judged on personal health care data, communication of health care data, quality of health care, patient experience, finance and governance.

Australian health care transparency

Australian health care is a complex and interconnected system, with spending totalling $155 billion in 2013-14, according to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

KPMG's research revealed that Australia performed particularly well in the areas of finance and governance. In fact, the nation was one of just a minority of countries that earned a bonus point for publishing health service procurement prices and contracts.

Nevertheless, an assessment of quality of health care transparency showed several areas of improvement, including the need for better reporting of:

  • Risk-adjusted mortality and survival rates;
  • Adverse events; and
  • Hospital-acquired infections.

The report also indicated that hospitals could do more to measure and publish patient outcomes and approval ratings.

Adverse events and hospital-acquired infections can lead to medical negligence claims, with successful plaintiffs often winning compensation worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The benefits of transparency improvements

Better transparency could allow patients who feel their medical practitioners have breached duty of care obligations to access the information needed to build their case.

KPMG noted that public reporting is also linked to quality improvements, especially at the hospital level, which could help lower instances of medical negligence.

Dan Harradine, KPMG Australia health care partner, said "sunlight is the best disinfectant" for delivering better patient outcomes and value for health systems.

"By being open about performance, patients can make more informed choices about their care, and health systems can learn valuable lessons about the efficacy and sustainability of services," he explained.

Pursuing a medical negligence claim

Sadly, mistakes can happen when patients are receiving treatment, but not all errors are the result of negligence.

Medical negligence law can be complex, and AIHW statistics show that cases can take an average of between three and four years after the incident occurred to reach a settlement.

This is why it's crucial to contact an experienced medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a claim.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.