Reporting on health care quality and health performance makes the system more transparent and accountable. When performance is reported in a nationally consistent way, it encourages improvement and innovation through the sharing of successful strategies among health care providers and managers. It also enables us to compare the experiences of, and outcomes for, different population groups, highlighting areas where some sections of the community might be missing out, and supporting patients to make informed choices about their health care. 

In Australia, a number of performance frameworks are used to assess aspects of our health and our health system. Two of the frameworks are the:

  • National Health Performance Framework (NHPF) (68KB PDF), which provides a structure for reporting on the health system at the national level. The NHPF has 40 health indicators grouped under
    3 domains: health status, determinants of health, and health system performance. The AIHW reports on these indicators biennially, in its Australia’s health report.
  • Performance and Accountability Framework (PAF) (1.3MB PDF), which provides a structure for local reporting on public and private hospitals and primary health organisations. The PAF contains 48 indicators of health system performance, grouped under the domains of equity, effectiveness and efficiency. There are 17 indicators for public and private hospitals, and 31 for primary health organisations.

The AIHW publishes its local-level health performance information against the PAF indicators, on the MyHospitals and MyHealthyCommunities websites:

  • MyHospitals has performance information on more than 1000 public and private hospitals nationally, including waiting times for elective surgery and emergency department care, and length of stay in hospital for specific conditions.
  • MyHealthyCommunities has information about primary health care and the health experiences and characteristics of the Australian population in regional and small community areas.

A range of safety and quality measures are also monitored and reported at various levels of the health system to support health service providers and clinicians to improve the safety and quality of care. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is Australia's key agency providing national leadership for health care providers in this area. There are also many other organisations integral to efforts to improve safety and quality at the state or territory level, or for particular components of the health sector. The efforts to improve safety and quality include public reporting of information on health care safety and quality, including that undertaken by the AIHW. These efforts are also accompanied by activities undertaken by health service providers to measure and monitor performance within their organisations to improve clinical outcomes and the appropriateness of services.

AIHW routinely reports measures of health care safety and quality, including:

  • health care-associated infections: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) cases in public hospitals
  • adverse events treated in hospital
  • falls resulting in patient harm in hospitals
  • hospital-acquired diagnoses
  • unplanned hospital readmission rates
  • patient experience.

Other national performance frameworks

The AIHW also manages or reports data against indicators in other performance frameworks, including the National Healthcare Agreement, the Review of Government Service Provision and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework.

For further information, see Links and other information.