5900.0.00.002 - Hospital output measures in the Australian National Accounts: experimental estimates, 2004-05 to 2017-18  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/09/2020  First Issue
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Qinghuan Luo (Economic Statistics Research Section)1


The ABS recently published experimental indexes for hospital admitted care services for the Australian National Accounts (ANA) using Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) disease expenditure data.2 3 This paper extends those experimental indexes to include hospital services in emergency department care and non-admitted patient care, thereby achieving complete coverage of hospital patient care services. This coverage enhancement also enables measurement of shifts across categories of care over time.

The primary purpose of the work presented in this paper is to improve output measures of health care services in the Australian National Accounts.4 Enhanced output measures also have the potential to improve the measurement of health care in ABS productivity statistics, which are an important source of information for broader economic decision making.5

With the national accounting focus of this work in mind, its scope is hospital services which are classified under two Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification (ANZSIC) classes: Hospitals (excluding psychiatric hospitals) and Psychiatric hospitals.6 Hospital output is significant, accounting for 38.3% of the Health care services industry’s output in 2016-17.7 With the backdrop of an ageing population, technological change and other potential changes in health care, hospital output is expected to come under increasing scrutiny.

The ABS invites feedback from the public on the experimental methods proposed in this paper. For further discussion of these methods please contact the ABS at economic.research@abs.gov.au.


1 The author would like to thank Jason Annabel, Kristen Stone, Derek Burnell, Joe Murphy, Christopher Hinchcliffe, Helen Baird, Michael Smedes, Jacqui Jones, Jason Thomson, Brett Henderson and Adrian Webster for their helpful comments.
2 The experimental indexes proposed in this paper would not have been possible without the data and assistance provided by the AIHW Health Systems Group. The author thanks them for this assistance.
3 https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/home/ABS+Chief+Economist+-+Disease+Based+Output+Measures+for+Hospitals
4 While several other agencies such as AIHW, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority and Department of Health produce and analyse a range of health statistics, the results in this paper have been prepared within a national accounting framework, and may not be directly comparable with other statistics in the health field.
5 The importance of productivity growth in the health sector was highlighted in a speech by Gruen (2012).
6 ANZSIC 8401 – Hospitals (except psychiatric hospitals) and 8402 – Psychiatric hospitals, under ANZSIC Subdivision 84 – Hospitals, which, together with Subdivision 85 – Medical and other health care services, makes up the Health care industry.
7 https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5215.0.55.001

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