Hospital experience data reveals areas for improvement in patient management

Sydney, 22 July 2013 – In good news for hospitals and patients around Australia, new data has revealed most patients would recommend their hospital to others. However, the data, released by HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, has also highlighted some significant gaps between expectations of safety and quality of hospital care and actual patient outcomes.

Presented at the Health Insurance Summit in Sydney today, the results of the HCF Hospital Patient Experience Survey shows 85% of HCF Members who have been treated in hospital over a two and a half year period were satisfied with their treatment and the facilities.

The views of those who were not satisfied with their treatment have revealed areas for improvement in hospital care and communication with patients. Almost one in ten (9%) say they may not have had a procedure if they had known the outcome and 16% of respondents reported a worse outcome than they expected from their hospital treatment.

Further, 14% of respondents self-reported an unexpected event during or following their hospital stay, significantly higher than the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data that reports an adverse event rate of 5.3%*. The main unexpected events included complications of surgery, haemorrhage or bleeding and the discovery of other health problems.

The data also revealed areas for development in the provision of medications and patient care. One in ten (10%) patients reported the purpose of newly prescribed medicines was rarely explained and almost a third (31%) did not have side effects explained to them. In addition, the medical team being uninterested, uncaring and unsympathetic topped the list of concerns for unsatisfied patients, along with cost.

In concerning news for patient welfare, more than one in ten (13%) patients leaving hospital were not asked whether they would have the help they needed when they left hospital and almost a third (27%) were not provided information in writing on symptoms or health problems to look out for upon discharge from hospital.

HCF General Manager Benefits Management, Chris Wallace, said: “HCF is delighted to see that the majority of our members have a positive experience when they have to attend hospital. HCF strongly believes patients should have the best possible care and information when they need to receive hospital treatment. We aim to provide information to our members, and non-members, to help Australians make informed choices when it comes to looking after their health.

“We hope that highlighting the areas for improvement leads to enhanced standards of safety, quality and communication in hospitals to lead to better patient outcomes – which can only be a good thing.” This release of this data by HCF follows its recent publication of research into member satisfaction with different hospitals. HCF has also developed a hospital safety and quality web tool, which enables members to compare the performance of public and private hospitals against key indicators such as rates for qolden staph and hand hygiene.

More information can be found on our Hospital Safety & Quality page.

HCF launches new website tool to allow members to compare hospital performance

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