Guests at VAHI’s Seminar Series on 26 June had the pleasure of hearing from two experts operating at the forefront of public reporting, presenting on senior medical directors’ perceptions about public reporting of performance data and the evidence around its effectiveness.
Professor Emeritus David Dunt, Founding Director of the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne, spoke about the relevance of public reporting of hospital performance in Australia.
He presented findings from a systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of public performance reporting as a quality improvement strategy showing that it stimulates quality improvement and improves clinical outcomes.
He noted that local research in this field is still emerging but there are encouraging trends indicating a link between public reporting of performance data and quality improvements within the health system. His team’s Australian research included in-depth interview studies with medical directors from across Victoria. Overall, medical directors considered public reporting to be important, but most found it was not being used to its full potential to inform consumers, build trust and drive improvements.
Concluding that public performance reporting is integral to the pursuit of quality and transparency in health care, Professor Dunt stressed the need for government, clinicians and consumers to work together to develop it further.
Professor Erwin Loh is the national Chief Medical Officer and Group General Manager Clinical Governance for St Vincent's Health Australia. Professor Loh gave the audience insights into the individual doctor perspective. He spoke about the huge amount of performance data being presented to hospitals and the innovations he is driving within his organisation for performance reporting to improve decision-making at a board governance level.
Professor Loh spoke about the importance of the framework for public reporting currently being developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, which will bring standard measures for public reporting on patient safety and quality health care.
He spoke about the issues and concerns to consider when reporting performance data publicly. This included the importance of data integrity and adjusting for complex casemix so that these cannot be blamed for results indicating poor performance.
The seminar ended with an engaging discussion and some very challenging questions from the audience. The value of public reporting was recognised by all but there are clear opportunities for it to be developed so that it can have more impact in health system improvement.
VAHI has a range of seminars planned for 2019–20 covering topics such as using nudge techniques in health care and recent applications of predictive analytics. Stay tuned for details coming soon.