The quarterly assessment results of the performance of hospitals and hospital networks will be made available online under the National Health and Hospitals Agreement (NHHA) passed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Canberra on 20 April.
The NHHA Agreement reforms, passed by all of the states and territories (with the exception of Western Australia), give the Commonwealth authority over nation-wide health funding, and will see the establishment of Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) within the states to take charge of the day-to-day running of the health facilities.
A performance and accountability framework for the new hospital system forms one of the primary foci of the national health reform package.
“Australians should be able to access transparent and nationally comparable performance data and information on hospitals, GPs and primary care, aged care services and other health services,” says the COAG Agreement.
The quarterly performance assessments will be published as Hospital Performance Reports and Healthy Communities Reports, and will be compiled by the COAG Reform Council (CRC), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW). The AIHW will be responsible for developing a website where the reports can be accessed.
A standardised set of national performance indicators will be decided on by the states and will enable comparison of hospitals and health facilities on a nation-wide scale, similar to the My School website implemented by the Federal Government earlier this year.
These indicators will measure performance in the areas of the quality of service delivery, access to services, patient outcomes and/or patient experience and financial responsibility.
A National Performance Authority (NPA) is to be established by 1 July 2011 and will be in charge of the assessment process.
An interim website, run by the AIHW, will provide some hospital-level performance data to the public from 1 July 2010, until the Health Ministers can come to an agreement on a timeline and the data to be published.