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OECD finds variation in Australian health procedures

Posted 18 September 2014

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found the management of common health conditions varies depending upon where people live. The report 'Geographic Variations in Health Care: What do we know and what can be done to improve health system performance?' compared results from 13 participating countries, including Australia.

Compared to other OECD countries, Australia was found to have a high knee replacement rate, a high rate of caesarean section, and a relatively high rate for hysterectomies. The VHA believes health services should have access to comparable information showing differences in care and service provision by region and data comparing the effects of different models of care for selected procedures, such as hip replacement.

Our 2014 state election booklet 'Rethinking our health system' calls on the next Victorian Government to start implementing mechanisms that enable health services and clinicians to access information to facilitate improvement in care. The VHA believes the next state government should also commence the process of publicly publishing health services' comparative quality indicators by the end of 2015.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) advisory group on healthcare says variation may mean that some patients are missing out on effective care, while others are having unnecessary tests or interventions where risks outweigh any potential benefits.

Read or Download  Rethinking Our Health System

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