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VAGO report - Hospital Performance: Length of Stay

Posted 10 February 2016

Today the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) released its report on hospital performance: length of stay. Below is an analysis and summary of the report for VHA members. The full report is available below.


VHA analysis and comments
The VHA is pleased to see strong acknowledgement by VAGO that there is more information that could be provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to assist hospitals to understand, explain, and reduce length of stay (LOS) variance. Although the data itself does not provide clear explanation for variance in LOS, there is an opportunity for DHHS to utilise its data and collaborate with the sector to understand and reduce relative inefficiencies. VAGO noted that the then Department of Health responded to the 2008 Managing Acute Patient Flows audit with an undertaking to provide hospitals with sufficient benchmarking information to improve efficiency, however VAGO has not seen evidence of this. VAGO has suggested that a health service’s Statement of Priorities could be used to address LOS variance, where LOS performance measures could be incorporated beyond the management of patients in the emergency department.

A number of positive examples of how hospitals have improved their LOS performance are included in the audit. These examples provide excellent demonstration of the need for dedicated innovation channels to promote and share effective programs for health service delivery and management. The 2015 Travis review highlighted the need for a state-wide program to increase health service capacity through innovation, and this VAGO report provides further evidence for this recommendation. Indeed, the Government has indicated its support for this initiative through the establishment of Better Care Victoria and the Better Care Victoria: Innovation Fund, to assess and facilitate ideas to increase hospital capacity.

DHHS has accepted VAGO’s recommendations in its response to the audit, and notes there is broad consistency between the recommendations and current policy and practice in performance monitoring.

The VHA considers transparency of data to be crucial to supporting health services to benchmark performance and improve service delivery and efficiency. We will continue to raise this issue through our policy and advocacy avenues including our soon to be released 2016-17 state budget submission.

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Links: 
VAGO report on hospital performance: length of stay
Travis Review 
Establishment of Better Care Victoria

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