Australian Private Hospital System Research

Project Type - Primary health, Research


  • 2014


Health Outcomes International (HOI) has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health (the Department) to undertake research on the Australian Private Hospital System, with a specific focus on providing detailed descriptive and analytical information relating to private hospitals, private day procedure centres and major owners (corporate entities) of private hospitals in Australia.

The objectives of this research project are specified as follows:

  1. The preparation of a comprehensive discussion paper that will identify all the private hospitals and private day procedure centres across Australia.  This paper will be categorised by (a) corporate entity, and (b) jurisdiction. 
  2. Prepare private hospital case study analysis report. To undertake a case study analysis of up to four private hospital organisations based on a desktop analysis of the available data.  The case study sites will be selected in consultation with the Department and will be informed by analysis all private hospitals and day procedure centres across Australia (refer objective 1).  The key outcome of this this stage will be the preparation of a comprehensive report presenting a discussion of the case study performance assessment.  This analysis can be used to inform the Department’s future strategic and policy making decisions regarding health sector reform agenda.  

Key components of the methodology include:

  • Private hospital sector stocktake analysis: the conduct of a comprehensive analysis of data relating to private hospitals, private day procedure centres and major owners (corporate entities) of private hospitals in Australia. 
  • Literature review and review taxonomy
  • Stocktake data analysis: A preparation range of charts, tables and associated commentary (on the quantitative data), in accordance with the review taxonomy for all private hospitals (profit private, not for profit private and private hospitals)
  • Preparation of a Private Hospital Stocktake Analysis Discussion Paper: to present the findings of the stocktake analysis in accordance with the review taxonomy.  
  • Preparation of Private Hospital Case Study Report:  to present the findings of the desk top analysis in accordance with the case study framework and the agreed review taxonomy.  

HOI produced a stocktake dataset that provided a profile of every private hospital in Australia, reporting for each facility (amongst other things) 

  • the location and type of private hospital service nationally 
  • the location of the nearest public hospital including distance in kms 
  • the owner/operator, governance and management arrangements for all hospitals
  • the range, mix and of clinical services and clinical specialties provided by all private hospitals
  • the operations for all private hospitals (including by type, service utilisation/activity data)
  • overall performance in accordance with the KPIs available

In addition, HOI produced a comprehensive final report that:

  • Provided analysis and commentary on the variation in the relative efficiency of the public and private hospital sectors, including presenting the findings of the Productivity Commission and other study findings on measures of efficiency. 
  • Identified several models with the potential to improve hospital efficiency in Australia.
  • Explored the underlying differences in the public and private hospitals sectors and considered the impact on efficiency comparisons
  • Provided a detailed analysis of private hospital characteristics, including a desktop analysis of four of Australia’s largest private hospital providers.