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Hospital Performance: Costs of acute admitted patients in public hospitals from 2012–13 to 2014–15

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Cost of care from 2012–13 to 2014–15

From 2012–13 to 2014–15, the average cost of care at major public hospitals decreased by 1 per cent. This suggests that as a group, major public hospitals may have achieved improvements in efficiency (Table 1).

Across the three year period, 17 major public hospitals decreased their cost per NWAU for acute admitted patients; 7 hospitals by at least 5 per cent. Over the same period, 7 major public hospitals increased their cost per NWAU by up to 10 per cent (Figure 2).

A decrease in cost per NWAU over time implies improved efficiency. This may be due to a decrease in spending or by increasing the volume of services provided, or a combination of both (Table 3). One way a hospital may ensure more services are provided but a similar amount is spent, is to treat more patients by decreasing the average length of a patient’s stay in hospital.

Table 3: Major public hospitals that decreased the average cost of care by at least 5%, 2012–13 to 2014–15

Major metropolitan public hospitals Reduced spending* Increased number of activity units (NWAUs)
St Vincent's Hospital (Fitzroy) Yes
Nepean Hospital Yes
Westmead Hospital Yes
Prince of Wales Hospital Yes
Flinders Medical Centre Yes Yes
Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital Yes Yes
The Prince Charles Hospital Yes Yes
*
This table shows hospitals that recorded a reduction in spending, calculated using comparable running costs adjusted for inflation. Note that calculations exclude selected costs, for example: property, plant and equipment costs. A full list of costs that did not meet comparable running costs criteria are detailed in the technical supplement.
Note:
Data for all published years is classified by a single version of the AR–DRG codes (Version 8.0) and National Efficient Pricing Determination (2017–18, NEP17).

Figure 2: Cost per National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) for acute admitted patients, major public hospitals, 2012–13 to 2014–15, sorted by cost per NWAU in 2014–15

An infographic image showing the Cost per NWAU for acute admitted patients, major public hospitals, 2012-13 to 2014-15, sorted by cost per NWAU in 2014-15

Hospital 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 % change cost per NWAU 2012–13 to 2014–15 Comparison of 2014–15 to 2012–13
Canberra (ACT) $6,000 $6,400 $6,000 0% Same
Royal Perth (WA) $5,300 $5,700 $5,900 10% Larger
Sir Charles Gairdner (WA) $5,800 $5,800 $5,800 -1% Same
Princess Alexandra (Qld) $5,100 $5,100 $5,500 7% Larger
Royal Adelaide (SA) $5,100 $5,200 $5,300 2% Larger
Royal Darwin (NT) $5,300 $5,400 $5,200 -3% Smaller (<5%)
Prince Charles (Qld) $5,500 $5,600 $5,100 -8% Smaller (>=5%)
Royal Hobart (Tas) $4,500 $4,400 $4,900 7% Larger
Flinders (SA) $5,100 $4,900 $4,700 -8% Smaller (>=5%)
Royal Brisbane & Women's (Qld) $5,000 $5,000 $4,700 -6% Smaller (>=5%)
Townsville (Qld) $4,500 $4,700 $4,700 4% Larger
Prince of Wales (NSW) $4,800 $4,800 $4,600 -6% Smaller (>=5%)
John Hunter (NSW) $4,600 $4,800 $4,500 -2% Smaller (<5%)
Royal North Shore (NSW) $4,500 $4,500 $4,500 -1% Same
St Vincent's (NSW) $4,600 $4,800 $4,500 -1% Smaller (<5%)
Liverpool (NSW) $4,300 $4,300 $4,300 -1% Same
Royal Prince Alfred (NSW) $4,300 $4,700 $4,300 0% Same
St George (NSW) $4,400 $4,300 $4,300 -2% Smaller (<5%)
Westmead (NSW) $4,700 $4,400 $4,300 -9% Smaller (>=5%)
Wollongong (NSW) $4,500 $4,300 $4,300 -4% Smaller (<5%)
Austin (Vic) $4,200 $4,100 $4,200 0% Same
Royal Melbourne (Vic) $3,900 $3,800 $4,200 8% Larger
Nepean (NSW) $4,400 $4,300 $4,100 -6% Smaller (>=5%)
St Vincent's (Vic) $4,300 $4,300 $4,100 -5% Smaller (>=5%)
University Geelong (Vic) $4,200 $4,000 $4,100 -2% Smaller (<5%)
Monash [Clayton] (Vic) $3,900 $4,000 $4,000 1% Larger
The Alfred (Vic) $3,900 $3,800 $3,900 -1% Same
Other hospitals
Gold Coast University (Qld) NA NP $5,300
Gold Coast (Qld) $5,100 NP NA
Concord (NSW) NP $4,800 $4,500
Fiona Stanley (WA) NA NA NA
Peer average $4,680
Same
Results for 2012–13 and 2014–15 were the same
Larger
2014–15 result was larger than the 2012–13 result
Smaller (<5%)
2014–15 result was smaller than the 2012–13 result, but was less than a 5% decrease
Smaller (>=5%)
2014–15 result was at least 5% lower than the 2012–13 result
Percentage change results may differ from plotted results due to rounding
*
Further information on cost per NWAU and change over time can be found in the Technical Supplement
Percentage change 2012–13 to 2014–15 was calculated on unrounded cost per NWAU
NA
Data not available at time of publication
NP
Data did not meet minimum reporting requirements as detailed in the Technical Supplement
Note:
Data for all published years is classified by a single version of the AR–DRG codes (Version 8.0) and National Efficient Pricing Determination (2017–18, NEP17).
Sources:
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis of results calculated using the National Hospital Cost Data Collection, the Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set and the Hospital Casemix Protocol Data Collection. Data supplied 26 September 2017.
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