Consumer report card points to highs and lows of health system

A new Consumer Report Card on Australia’s Health System finds that significant areas including mental health and cost barriers to care present issues of concern.

The Consumers Health Forum has studied 12 indicators against historical and international measures to report on health system performance from a consumer’s perspective.

The report identified six of the 12 indicators as areas “of concern” for consumers. These include relatively high rates of psychological distress compared to other western countries, relatively high level of out-of-pocket health costs and levels public expenditure on preventive health measures.

On the positive side, 85 per cent of Australians consider themselves in good or very good health, and the falling incidence of hospital acquired infections places Australia as the second best-performing nation on that front.

The 12 indicators were used to assess four key elements of the system. These are: population health and wellbeing, consumer-centred care, health system funding and social determinants of health.

The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said the aim of the report was to provide a picture of Australia’s health system performance in key areas from a consumer perspective.

“It is appropriate that we launch the Consumer Report Card today, the start of Patient Experience Week, an opportunity to celebrate the community advocates and healthcare staff who impact on the patient experience every day.

“We aim to evolve and regularly publish the Consumer Report Card”.

“There are many data-rich reports published on Australia’s health system but not much in the way of an overall consumer-focused report card on Australia’s health system and outcomes,” Ms Wells said.

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