Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations; identifying hotspots of inequalities

A Geographic and Temporal Analysis

Published: 2019


The level of Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations (PPHs) is an accepted measure of health system performance and, despite its limitations, can geographically highlight areas of concern where rates of hospitalisation are high or to investigate why in other instances rates are low.

This study identifies the geographic and temporal persistence of PPHs across Australia, over the period from 2012/13 to 2016/17. It follows on from work by Duckett and Griffiths (2016) published as “Perils of Place: identifying hotspots of health inequalities”. This study provides a framework to identify the existence of areas with persistently high PPH rates over time known as “PPH hotspots” and provides core principles to highlight areas where interventions can be targeted. We hope that this new analysis, and its presentation in geographical maps, heat map graphs and data sheets, will provide information that is useful to the various levels of the health system, from state and territory health agencies to local and regional health networks and boards, PHNs and primary care practitioners, in working together with an aim to reducing the level of PPHs through improved primary health care outcomes at the local area level.

The interpretation of the data and its presentation is complex, and we encourage users to read the comprehensive notes at the links presented below, and in particular to take note of the sections on Limitations and Using the Atlas. Further information can be obtained by contacting PHIDU.

Justin Beilby, a health services researcher and general practitioner for over 30 years provides his insights on the usefulness of PHIDU’s hot spot analysis of potentially preventable hospitalisations for health care decision making.

Detailed notes on Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations

Authored by PHIDU