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IHPA has had another productive year, meeting its performance criteria and deliverables in IHPA’s corporate plan and work program for 2018–19.

The IHPA Work Program 2018–19 provides a more detailed set of goals and deliverables than those included in the Portfolio Budget Statements and IHPA’s Corporate Plan. It is developed each year through a consultative process with government and health sector stakeholders, and is published on the IHPA website (see www.ihpa.gov.au/publications).

Work priorities identified through our stakeholder committees and working groups have been achieved, or significant progress has been demonstrated. A major focus last year has been the work towards pricing and funding for safety and quality. The approach to the implementation of pricing and funding for safety and quality has been rolled out on a staged basis.

Funding adjustments related to sentinel events were introduced in July 2017, followed by funding adjustments for hospital acquired complications in July 2018.

IHPA progressed the final stage of this work to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions, which arise from complications in the management of the patient’s original hospital admission.

The Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council approved a list of avoidable hospital readmissions developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. IHPA is currently shadowing funding options to analyse their impact in preventing avoidable hospital readmissions over a 24-month period commencing 1 July 2019.

IHPA has been able to meet these challenges in a professional and timely manner, while continuing to achieve the criteria set out in its annual work program.

The Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups classification continues to be well regarded within Australia and internationally, and is currently licensed for use in 17 countries around the world.

For the first time, IHPA included data on hospital acquired complications via its National Benchmarking Portal, enabling hospital managers to better understand the impact of hospital acquired complications across Australian public
hospital services.

The portal is a secure, web-based application. It provides an important way to recognise the critical role that data plays in IHPA’s work, and is a key driver in safety and quality measures going forward.

IHPA has a challenging role in communicating intricate, highly technical and complex information related to the public hospital costs and funding in Australia. In 2018–19, we demonstrated that we were up to the challenge. For the first time, we adapted the National Hospital Cost Data Collection (NCHDC) report into a set of succinct and accessible infographics designed to reach a wider audience. These infographics have succeeded in generating strong interest in the NHCDC.

The National Efficient Price and National Efficient Cost Determinations for 2018–19 continue to demonstrate the benefits of activity based funding in reducing costs (see Significant slowdown in costs).

With the increasing demand for health services, there is an opportunity to encourage more preventive interventions as well as integrated services that can reduce the need for hospital admissions. IHPA undertook a global horizon scan in 2018 to learn best practices that can be adapted to incorporate value‑based funding models to focus on hospital avoidance and improve patient outcomes. This included a visit to selected institutions in the United States including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Maryland; 3M Health Care, Washington DC; New York State Department of Health; and Staten Island University Hospital.

In addition, IHPA will continue to drive internal process improvements, with a focus on refining funding models, learning and development, and data use and analysis. Along with exploring opportunities for the new long-term, system-wide reforms focusing on value and outcome-based health, IHPA will continue to work in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders to improve health outcomes for Australians and increase the effectiveness of Australia’s current hospital funding system.