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Exploring healthcare variation in Australia
Posted 21 June 2014
The VHA has responded to a paper from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) entitled 'Exploring Healthcare Variation in Australia: Analyses Resulting from an OECD Study'. The paper analyses the variation of certain conditions and interventions for selected Medicare Local catchments, including admissions for hip fractures and knee replacements, and hysterectomy rates for an aged and gender-adjusted population.
Variation was found across all areas. Some variation was warranted, for example if it resulted from differences in population need, cultural or patient preferences, or if it may reflected innovation in practice and delivery of care.
In other cases, variation was unwarranted, for example if it related to access to alternative care, clinical decision-making, referral patterns, or payment and remuneration structures.
The VHA believes there needs to be further discussion about how and to whom this information is presented, and about the role of different health system participants in reducing unwarranted variation.
Compared to other jurisdictions, such as NSW and overseas, Victorian healthcare providers receive very little information about differences in care within their service or catchment compared to that of peers.
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