Med­ibank Private acts on mis­takes

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

From Health cover soft­ware and went around to other hos­pi­tals that had im­ple­mented this to find the best sys­tem that would al­low doc­tors to elec­tron­i­cally pre­scribe med­i­ca­tions.’’

Sav­vides says private health funds must play a role in im­prov­ing health­care and re­duc­ing un­nec­es­sary hospi­tal read­mis­sions.

‘‘ Aus­tralia has some of the best qual­ity of hospi­tal care in the world, but my point is there is al­ways room for im­prove­ment, and in­no­va­tion should be sup­ported — which is ex­actly where private health funds can play a fun­da­men­tal role in change.

‘‘ Let’s en­cour­age th­ese teams to im­ple­ment th­ese pro­grams and show­case the re­sults. The ones that work well, we’ll share among all hos­pi­tals around the coun­try.’’

Sav­vides be­lieves Aus­tralia will even­tu­ally de­velop and adopt na­tional stan­dards for as­sess­ing the qual­ity of hospi­tal health­care.

‘‘ The states have their own data col­lec­tion sys­tems but there are moves afoot to set up a na­tional record­ing pro­gram.’’

Day says pre­vi­ous ef­forts to im­prove pa­tient care in hos­pi­tals were in­con­sis­tent, and not al­ways re­viewed to see which mea­sures worked.

‘‘ Some hos­pi­tals would say ‘ we’re all do­ing this’, but it’s im­por­tant to have th­ese pro­grams co-or­di­nated, mon­i­tored and as­sessed and the re­sults pub­lished.

‘‘ Hos­pi­tals can­not func­tion in iso­la­tion. We should be get­ting con­sis­tency across all hos­pi­tals in Aus­tralia, pub­lic and private.’’

Grow­ing pa­tient de­mands for bet­ter care and the in­creas­ing cost of health­care would force hos­pi­tals to ad­dress im­ple­ment changes to re­duce med­i­cal er­rors, he said.

‘‘ All of this has been over­due in Aus­tralia. Med­i­cal in­dem­nity in­sur­ance is go­ing through the roof, so there had to be a cir­cuit­breaker some­where. The cost of health­care, of just th­ese peo­ple be­ing read­mit­ted, is cost­ing health funds a lot of money and they need to keep pre­mi­ums un­der con­trol. In the US they re­alised a 1000 lives could be saved by im­ple­ment­ing a range of safety ini­tia­tives.’’

A re­port in May found that in Queens­land hos­pi­tals last fi­nan­cial year there were 33,000 in­stances where pa­tient safety was put at risk, and six cases in which surgery was per­formed on the wrong pa­tient or body part.

Day says greater trans­parency would al­low even smaller hos­pi­tals to im­prove health­care, with­out the ex­pense of tri­alling sys­tems that were in­ef­fec­tive.

‘‘ All hos­pi­tals should have an open book on their pol­icy ini­tia­tives, and al­low men­tor­ing of hos­pi­tals and al­low the pub­li­ca­tion of re­sults and projects,’’ Day says. ‘‘ That way hos­pi­tals that don’t have the re­sources to test th­ese projects and ini­tia­tives can take a look at the re­sults and im­ple­ment them.’’

Pic­ture: Richard Cisar-Wright

Care: Martin Day and Alyson Ross at­tend to pa­tient Colin Rob­jant at St Vin­cent and Mercy Private Hospi­tal

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