Medibank Private acts on mistakes
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.’’
Care: Martin Day and Alyson Ross attend to patient Colin Robjant at St Vincent and Mercy Private Hospital