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The AIHW and its collaborating units have published a range of information on the safety and quality of health care in Australia.

Most of these publications include statistics related to health care safety and quality within a wider range of information focused on a type of health care provider (for example, hospitals), a type of disease or health condition (for example, cardiovascular disease), or the health of a population group (for example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders).

Below is a brief snapshot of the most recent AIHW publication focusing on health care safety and quality.

OECD medical practice variations

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) undertook a Medical Practice Variations Study. Australia was one of 13 countries that participated. The aims of the study were to:

  • Document medical practice variations, with a focus on within country variations
  • Analyse possible causes of medical practice variations, and
  • Explore policy options to reduce unwarranted variations and improve resource allocation.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) coordinated Australia's participation in this study, with technical analyses and input provided by the AIHW. The admission types and interventions selected from the OECD list for examination in Australia were:

  1. Overnight medical admissions
  2. Admissions for hip fracture
  3. Orthopaedic care
    1. Knee replacement
    2. Knee arthroscopy
  4. Obstetric and gynaecological care
    1. Caesarean section
    2. Hysterectomy
  5. Cardiac care
    1. Cardiac catheterisation
    2. Coronary artery bypass graft
    3. Percutaneous coronary interventions

Exploring Healthcare Variation in Australia, co-authored by the Commission and the AIHW, presents a more detailed picture of the Australian results of the OECD study and includes some additional analyses.  The discussion paper aims to stimulate comment on health care variation and builds on the AIHW’s reporting in this field. The release of the study is the starting point for more detailed work by the Commission to identify variation in a range of health care topics and to present these findings in an Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation.

For further information see: