A new report 'Perils of Place: Identifying Hotspots of Health Inequalities', published by the Grattan Institute, shows that there are areas of Australia where high levels of preventable hospitalisation are prevalent and persisting.
The report outlines a system for detecting health ‘hotspots’, using data from Queensland and Victoria. Hotspots are locations where hospitalisations for conditions that are preventable are at least 50% higher than the State average for a sustained period.
What is both interesting and disturbing is that some neighbouring communities, that are otherwise very similar, seem to have different levels of preventable hospitalisations. It is vital that we examine why some communities are able to better support their residents in the management of chronic conditions so as to avoid hospital admissions. Being able to learn from these successes and apply solutions to 'hotspots' will go a long way to improving health.
The Grattan Institute's findings indicate that hotspots occur in both metropolitan and rural and remote communities, but on the evidence they present, rural and remote regions are of greater need of focus and investment. This tool is potentially of great use to Primary Health Networks and health service planning. Its application in the other States and Territories will hopefully follow soon.
You can read a commentary on the report by the author here.