"Flying Blind"
Australian Consumers and Digital Health

A report about the Australian Health Data Landscape

Service Fragmentation

is equal to Data Fragmentation

The Australian health sector is a complex combination of public and private healthcare services. Because of this, it is highly fragmented. This is exacerbated by the fact that funding comes from a range of public and private sources.

Fragmented services result in fragmented data collection – something which is highly detrimental to continuity of care between different providers and can lead to adverse health outcomes. 

 

Nancy has already seen three different health service providers about her hip pain – a GP, a radiologist and a specialist. If she needs a hip replacement, she will then need to go to a public or private hospital. Within the hospital she would see a pathologist, and possibly a radiologist again, before her surgery. As part of her post-operative care, she may then go to a rehabilitation centre, or use the services of a physiotherapist.

Current Scenario:

  • Data sharing between primary healthcare providers and hospitals is currently limited.

  • If a patient chooses to go to a private hospital for one health problem and to a public hospital for another, there is no automatic sharing of data between the two hospitals.

  • This is also the case in the public hospital system. When a patient goes to different public hospitals in different jurisdictions, there is no data sharing between the hospitals.

  • At present, no service provider or healthcare organisation has access to an individual’s complete health profile – even if the individual is willing to share data to support continuity of care. 

Service fragmentation isn’t simply inconvenient. It’s expensive for patients, and it has the potential to be harmful too.

The piecemeal nature of healthcare services is shown below, and provides a sense of the many different entities consumers have to deal with. Underneath, the map provides a snapshot of the healthcare services available in each state in Australia.

The Puzzle of Fragmented Healthcare

The puzzle of Fragmented Healthcare

Health Services in Australia

New South Wales

  • Public hospitals: 225
  • Private hospitals: 193
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 18
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 10
  • Aged care services: 1232
  • GPs: 10245
  • Population (2014) : 7 519 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 46,197
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,144

Victoria

  • Public hospitals: 151
  • Private hospitals: 165
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 86
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 6
  • Aged care services: 978
  • GPs: 8033
  • Population (2014): 5 842 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 35,262
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,036

Queensland

  • Public hospitals: 169
  • Private hospitals: 108
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 16
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 7
  • Aged care services: 722
  • GPs: 7107
  • Population (2014) : 4 722 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 29,615
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,272

South Australia

  • Public hospitals: 80
  • Private hospitals: 55
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 5
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 2
  • Aged care services: 349
  • GPs: 2607
  • Population (2014) : 1 686 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 11,073
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,568

Western Australia

  • Public hospitals: 91
  • Private hospitals: 62
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 5
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 3
  • Aged care services: 360
  • GPs: 3381
  • Population (2014) : 2 573 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 15,599
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,063

Tasmania

  • Public hospitals: 23
  • Private hospitals: 6
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 0
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 1
  • Aged care services: 117
  • GPs: 847
  • Population (2014) : 515 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 3,178
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,171

Northern Territory

  • Public hospitals: 5
  • Private hospitals: 1
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 0
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 1
  • Aged care services: 86
  • GPs: 566
  • Population (2014) : 245 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 1,929
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $7,873

Australian Capital Territory

  • Public hospitals: 3
  • Private hospitals: 5
  • LHDs and specialty networks: 0
  • Primary Health Networks (PHNs): 1
  • Aged care services: 34
  • GPs: 489
  • Population (2014) : 386 000
  • Recurrent health expenditure by state 2013-2014 in $million: 2,666
  • Recurrent health expenditure per capita by state 2014 in $: $6,907

AIHW Data as of March 2016