Public reporting of hospital outcomes based on administrative data: risks and opportunities

Med J Aust. 2006 Jun 5;184(11):571-5. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00383.x.


In the wake of findings from the Bundaberg Hospital and Forster inquiries in Queensland, periodic public release of hospital performance reports has been recommended. A process for developing and releasing such reports is being established by Queensland Health, overseen by an independent expert panel. This recommendation presupposes that public reports based on routinely collected administrative data are accurate; that the public can access, correctly interpret and act upon report contents; that reports motivate hospital clinicians and managers to improve quality of care; and that there are no unintended adverse effects of public reporting. Available research suggests that primary data sources are often inaccurate and incomplete, that reports have low predictive value in detecting "outlier" hospitals, and that users experience difficulty in accessing and interpreting reports and tend to distrust their findings.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Consumer Advocacy*
  • Health Policy
  • Hospitals / standards*
  • Humans
  • Information Services*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*