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N Z Med J. 2008 Aug 8;121(1279):66-74.

Hospital discharges in New Zealand 1991-2005: changes over time and variation between districts.

Author information

  • 1Health Services Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand. antony.raymont@vuw.ac.nz

Abstract

AIM:

This paper describes changes in the rate of hospital discharges in New Zealand between 1991 and 2006, and assesses variation across districts; it contributes to the discussion of the adequacy of the health system.

METHODOLOGY:

Data on public hospital discharges were obtained from the NZ Health Information Service. Diagnostic Related Groups were used to group and weight cases; domiciliary codes were used to assign cases to districts and as an indication of patients' socioeconomic status. The Intervention Ratio was used as a relative measure of national hospital throughput from 1991 to 2005, and of district service volume. The Coefficient of Variation was used as a measure of overall system variation.

RESULTS:

There has been an increase of 50.5% in weighted discharges from public hospitals between 1991/2 and 2005/6; adjusted for population change the increase is 17.9%. There has been a modest fall in the degree of variation between districts, but in medicine and surgery 24% of district departments appear to have levels of discharge significantly above or below the national average.

CONCLUSIONS:

The intensity of public hospital care to the New Zealand public has increased. Where services are provided at a level above or below the national average, local explanations should be sought and corrective action undertaken if warranted.

PMID:
18709049
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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