Episodes of care

The total number of episodes of care increased by around 61,000 between 2018–19 and 2019–20 and increased again more modestly in 2020–21by around 13,400 (Table 3).

Looking at changes in episodes of care at the organisational level shows that:

  • Comparing 2019–20 with 2018–19 (Table 3A), 15 organisations had more than a 20% decrease in episodes of care (with a total of around 38,400 fewer episodes of care than in the previous period), while 19 organisations had more than a 20% increase in episodes of care (with a total of around 69,700 more episodes of care).
  • Comparing 2020–21 with 2019–20 (Table 3B), there were 27 organisations with more than a 20% decrease in episodes of care, with a combined reduction of around 61,500 episodes of care. Eighteen organisations had more than a 20% increase in episodes of care (with a total of around 81,700 more episodes of care).

The pandemic was cited as a contributing factor to the decreases in episodes of care by 9 of the 15 organisations in 2019–20 and 8 of the 27 organisations in 2020–21 who had experienced more than a 20% decrease in episodes of care. The explanations given by the organisations were similar to those around client contacts, focusing on the role of travel restrictions, lockdowns, and changes in staffing.

Six organisations who had experienced more than a 20% increase in their episodes of care from the previous period stated that the pandemic played a role, citing factors such as increased populations in the area, greater clinical needs among their clients, and screening or vaccination clinics.

Table 3. Number of episodes of care and number of organisations who cited the pandemic as a reason for variation in numbers between periods, by degree of variation from previous period

Table 3A. 2019–20 compared with 2018–19

 

Episodes of care 2019–20

Episodes of care 2018–19

Difference in episodes of care between periods

 

Organisations who cited pandemic
2019–20

Organisation who did not cite pandemic 2019–20

Total organisations 2019–20

Organisations with 20% or more decrease

102,478

140,872

–38,394

 

9

6

15

Organisations with 20% or more increase

266,347

196,629

69,718

 

4

15

19

Organisations with less than 20% change

2,660,992

2,631,319

29,673

 

n.a.

n.a.

127

Total

3,029,817

2,968,820

60,997

 

13

148

161

Table 3B. 2020–21 compared with 2019–20

 

Episodes of care 2020–21

Episodes of care 2019–20

Difference in episodes of care between periods

 

Organisations who cited pandemic
2020–21

Organisation who did not cite pandemic
2020–21

Total organisations
2020–21

Organisations with 20% or more decrease

191,091

252,577

–61,486

 

8

19

27

Organisations with 20% or more increase

392,739

311,074

81,665

 

2

16

18

Organisations with less than 20% change

2,459,337

2,466,166

–6,829

 

n.a.

n.a.

116

Total

3,043,167

3,029,817

13,350

 

10

151

161

Notes:

  1. Organisations that reported to the OSR collection in 2018–19, 2019–20, and 2020–21 and had no identified issues in the comparability of their data over time.
  2. For episodes of care, the validation rules trigger for 20% change in the total only.

Source: AIHW analysis of the OSR collection.