Key findings: Total potentially preventable hospitalisations
Nationally, in 2013–14 there were 600,267 hospitalisations for the 22 conditions that are considered potentially preventable. This represented 6% of 9.7 million hospital admissions in that year for public and private hospitals.
Potentially preventable hospitalisations also accounted for nearly 2.4 million bed days, equivalent to 8% of all hospital bed days.
Some people are more likely to be admitted for a potentially preventable hospitalisation than others. In 2013–14, of all potentially preventable hospitalisations, one in five hospitalisations (20%) occurred among people aged 80 years and over, and just over half (51%) were among people aged 60 years and over (Appendix 1).
Accordingly, potentially preventable hospitalisation rates have been age-standardised to enable fairer comparisons between geographic areas. The following findings highlight which Primary Health Network (PHN) areas have higher or lower rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations and bed days.
Variation in hospitalisation rates
In 2013–14, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations was almost three times higher in some PHN areas compared to others, ranging from 1,702 hospitalisations per 100,000 people in Northern Sydney PHN to 4,891 per 100,000 in Northern Territory PHN (Table 1 and Chronic conditions, Acute and vaccine-preventable conditions, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Diabetes complications, Heart failure, Cellulitis and Kidney and urinary tract infections sections).
One possible explanation for lower rates in some areas is that those areas have stronger primary health care systems that may prevent hospitalisations for conditions that are better managed in the community.