[IMJ On-Air] Making sense of HACs
Clinical complications suffered by patients during hospital stays are assumed to be preventable and to provide some metric of quality of care. To assist in their understanding and mitigation the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare established a national programme to track hospital-acquired complications (HACs) in a formalised way. Comparison data can be found through the Health Roundtable reports and it’s been understood that hospitals with higher complication rates may have a have a lower standard of care.
While the national HAC program has support from providers across all jurisdictions and makes good use of electronic medical records, some questions remain as to its methodology. In a retrospective audit of medical records published in the Internal Medicine Journal, Dr Graeme Duke and colleagues at Eastern Health Intensive Care Research have sought to validate the clinical significance of HACs identified within their service. Their research suggests that HACs are underreported by coding data and that they are more strongly associated with patient-related factors than with deviation from clinical best practice. Dr Duke and IMJ editor Professor Ian Scott discuss the research article and its implications for the national hospital-acquired complications programme.
Dr Graeme Duke FCICM, FANZCA (Eastern Health Intensive Care Services)
Prof Ian Scott FRACP (University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital)
Graeme J Duke et al. Clinical evaluation of the national hospital-acquired complication programme Internal Medicine Journal 2021; 52(11); 1910-1916
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