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AIHW releases hospital safety and quality data

The Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare has released its 2021-22 Hospital safety and quality data.

It measure the safety and quality of care in hospitals across the following measures:

  • healthcare-associated infections (Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections)
  • hand hygiene compliance
  • hospital-acquired complications
  • conditions that arose during a hospital stay
  • potentially preventable hospitalisations
  • patients’ experiences of hospital care.

Below is a summary of the latest results for each measure.

Healthcare-associated infections: Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (SABSI)

  • there were 1,546 cases of SABSI occurring during 21.1 million days of patient care in public hospitals – this was a rate of 0.73 SABSI cases per 10,000 patient days
  • all public hospitals in each state and territory had rates below the national benchmark of 1 case per 10,000 patient days, except for the Australian Capital Territory
  • for private hospitals that volunteered to report SABSI surveillance data to the national collection (23% of hospitals), there were 194 SABSI cases occurring during 5.7 million days of patient care – a rate of 0.34 cases per 10,000 patient days.

Hand hygiene compliance

  • the national hand hygiene compliance rate was 86%
  • compliance rates for each of the 5 moments varied between 81% (moment 5 – after touching a patient’s surroundings) and 93% (moment 3 – after a procedure or body fluid exposure risk)
  • the highest compliance rates were among dental professionals and nurses and midwives.

Hospital-acquired complications

  • one or more HACs were recorded in 112,000 hospitalisations in public hospitals (2.1 in every 100 hospitalisations), and 34,700 hospitalisations in private hospitals (0.9 in every 100 hospitalisations)
  • the most recorded type of complication was Healthcare associated infection, which was recorded in 55% of hospitalisations.

Conditions that arose during a hospital stay

Conditions that arise during a hospital stay include conditions which may or may not have been preventable.

In 2021–22, 938,400 hospitalisations (8.3% of hospitalisations) recorded a condition noted as arising during the episode of hospital care. Hospitalisations involving Childbirth were most likely to record a condition that arose during the hospital stay (48% for same-day hospitalisations and 67% of overnight hospitalisations).

Patients’ experience of hospital care

Patient experience captures information on patients’ views of their interactions with the healthcare system and communication with staff delivering healthcare services.

In 2021–22, among people aged 15 and over who used hospital services as an admitted patient, most reported that:

  • hospital doctors and specialists spent enough time with them (73%), listened carefully (76%) and always showed respect (79%)
  • hospital nurses spent enough time with them (74%), listened carefully (78%) and always showed respect (80%).

Potentially preventable hospitalisations

Potentially preventable hospitalisations are an indicator of the effectiveness of non-hospital care. These hospitalisations could have potentially been prevented through the provision of appropriate health interventions and early disease management in primary care and community-based care settings (including by general practitioners, medical specialists, dentists, nurses, and allied health professionals).

In 2021–22, there were 494,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in public hospitals and 167,000 in private hospitals. These included:

  • 251,000 hospitalisations for chronic conditions (excluding diabetes)
  • 54,400 hospitalisations for diabetes complications
  • 43,300 hospitalisations for vaccine-preventable conditions.

To read the results in full, please follow this link.

*This article is based on Australian Institute of Health and Welfare material.