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Does the rorting of health statistics mean anything to you? [With poll]

By 4 July 2012 29

In the wake of the Auditor-General’s very worrying look into widespread falsification of data at Canberra hospital we’ve had a lot of commenters coming out of the woodwork to say it’s really no big deal.

What’s bit of industrial fudging of patient records between friends? So what if the systems in the Emergency Department are less sophisticated than the average pub cash register? And why would we want to root out those responsible for such dishonesty in an area requiring great trust? It’s only taxpayer money being allocated on the basis of these numbers right? Only political points being scored to win elections what’s the big deal?

So rather than let a few noisy commenters dominate we’re going to throw it out to a poll.

Health statistics scandal

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Does the rorting of health statistics mean anything to you? [With poll]
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dungfungus 12:48 pm 08 Jul 12

snoopydoc said :

mezza76 said :

snoopydoc said :

Hmmm, everyone seems to have an acute case of missing-the-point-itis…

….
3. The problem is not enough acute hospital beds per capita. Plain and simple.
4. Addressing #3 is vastly more important and useful than whinging about #1.

That’s a nice AMA view of the world. You might want to add hospital diversion programs, early intervention, access block programs, buying capacity in private hospitals where appropriate to free beds… and better efficiency of EDs. Plain and simple huh?

Yes, plain and simple.

ED overcrowding is caused primarily by access block.

Access block is caused by an insufficient number of acute inpatient beds.

All the rest is window dressing. Better preventive health care and more “non-acute” aged care beds, etc. will help. But there is no getting away from the fact that for the forseeable future there will be a requirement for a certain number of acute hospital beds per unit of population, and that ratio is currently not sufficient to meet even average demand, let alone surge capacity.

Fixing the frilly add-ons is nice, but prioritising resource allocation to the most obvious and contributory deficiency of the system is a more sensible approach. Improving the efficiency of your car’s engine by even 1 or 2% is vastly better than buying headlights that are 50% more efficient.

I suggest you do a spot of reading about optimal bed occupancy and flow modelling, catch up with the latest peer-reviewed literature on access block and review the figures for acute beds per 1,000 population and the reduction thereof over the past 10-20 years in Australia.

And for the record I am not a member of the AMA… cheers. 🙂

access block = negative patient outcomes

VicePope 11:40 am 08 Jul 12

Umm, SnoopyDoc. The stats aren’t just an add-on to doing real work in an accountable public sector. They are the only way the punters (let’s call them voters) and the providers (let’s call them the Government and, by extension, the legislature) can know how things are going and whether the managers are performing competently. You see, they do not commonly have the detailed knowledge about the subject that an expert might have and they are attracted by numbers that tell a story. When the numbers are wrong – deliberately or by mistake – their capacity to assess even what they can is taken away.

As someone who has spent lots of time crawling through the greasy bits of bureaucracy looking for stuff, my impression (underlined) is that Canberra Hospital, and maybe other bits of the system, might be heavily oversupplied with clerks doing work which may not be as productive as some other tasks. But I’d need some numbers and a bit of energetic analysis to assess whether my impression is realistic. My other impression from family use of the ACT health system is that the professional medical staff is extremely competent and responsive, but that impression too might need to be adjusted by some real system-wide information.

snoopydoc 12:30 am 08 Jul 12

mezza76 said :

snoopydoc said :

Hmmm, everyone seems to have an acute case of missing-the-point-itis…

….
3. The problem is not enough acute hospital beds per capita. Plain and simple.
4. Addressing #3 is vastly more important and useful than whinging about #1.

That’s a nice AMA view of the world. You might want to add hospital diversion programs, early intervention, access block programs, buying capacity in private hospitals where appropriate to free beds… and better efficiency of EDs. Plain and simple huh?

Yes, plain and simple.

ED overcrowding is caused primarily by access block.

Access block is caused by an insufficient number of acute inpatient beds.

All the rest is window dressing. Better preventive health care and more “non-acute” aged care beds, etc. will help. But there is no getting away from the fact that for the forseeable future there will be a requirement for a certain number of acute hospital beds per unit of population, and that ratio is currently not sufficient to meet even average demand, let alone surge capacity.

Fixing the frilly add-ons is nice, but prioritising resource allocation to the most obvious and contributory deficiency of the system is a more sensible approach. Improving the efficiency of your car’s engine by even 1 or 2% is vastly better than buying headlights that are 50% more efficient.

I suggest you do a spot of reading about optimal bed occupancy and flow modelling, catch up with the latest peer-reviewed literature on access block and review the figures for acute beds per 1,000 population and the reduction thereof over the past 10-20 years in Australia.

And for the record I am not a member of the AMA… cheers. 🙂

mezza76 10:05 pm 07 Jul 12

snoopydoc said :

Hmmm, everyone seems to have an acute case of missing-the-point-itis…

….
3. The problem is not enough acute hospital beds per capita. Plain and simple.
4. Addressing #3 is vastly more important and useful than whinging about #1.

That’s a nice AMA view of the world. You might want to add hospital diversion programs, early intervention, access block programs, buying capacity in private hospitals where appropriate to free beds… and better efficiency of EDs. Plain and simple huh?

snoopydoc 9:34 pm 07 Jul 12

Hmmm, everyone seems to have an acute case of missing-the-point-itis…

1. Dishonest reporting is unethical and unfortunate.
2. The numbers in question (the real ones) are pretty bad.
3. The problem is not enough acute hospital beds per capita. Plain and simple.
4. Addressing #3 is vastly more important and useful than whinging about #1.

housebound 5:44 pm 06 Jul 12

Nylex said :

dungfungus said :

johnboy said :

Yeah but no-one believes him either.

At least he resigned.

Even the hOmocidal idiots who insisted on exploding the Canberra Hospital failed to resign.

But they had to face a coronial inquiry – and then there was talk of someone being charged.

And Kate Carnell resigned as a direct result.

Nylex 4:42 pm 06 Jul 12

dungfungus said :

johnboy said :

Yeah but no-one believes him either.

At least he resigned.

Even the hOmocidal idiots who insisted on exploding the Canberra Hospital failed to resign.

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