12 June 2019
The journey towards more meaningful reporting of ambulance performance measures for NSW
One of BHI’s commitments in our new Strategic Plan 2019–22 is to continue to enhance the value of our information products by making our performance measurement and reporting as meaningful and clearly presented as possible.
In keeping with this commitment, BHI has changed the way we report on the activity and performance of ambulance services across the state. We are now reporting measures for 91 standard geographical areas, known as Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s), rather than the 18 ambulance zones we previously reported on.
Implemented for the first time in our latest issue of Healthcare Quarterly, these changes are the culmination of a great deal of work both within BHI and in consultation with our colleagues at NSW Ambulance and the Ministry of Health.
BHI first introduced quarterly reporting of ambulance performance data for NSW and 18 ambulance zones in the January–March 2017 issue of Healthcare Quarterly, in conjunction with the launch of an online map-based search application that allowed users to see how ambulance services were performing in each zone.
This information allowed important new insights into the performance of NSW Ambulance, but did have limitations. The geographical ‘zones’ defined by NSW Ambulance cover large areas so zone-level performance data is of limited interest at the local level. Zone administrative boundaries are also subject to change, making comparisons over time difficult.
To enhance the ambulance activity and performance information BHI provides to the community and healthcare sector, BHI has introduced SA3-level reporting. Developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SA3s are small enough to be meaningful to the community, but large enough to capture sufficient incidents to provide stable estimates of performance.
We have also introduced a new interactive ambulance performance tool that summarises key ambulance response times by SA3. This tool is a significant improvement on the previous application, with a new user-friendly graphic based on Google maps that enables users to engage more easily and intuitively with ambulance performance and activity data in their local area.
By entering their suburb or town into the tool, consumers are able to view a map of their local SA3 and its boundaries as well as a clear summary of the median ambulance response times for emergency, life-threatening and urgent cases along with performance comparisons for the same quarter the previous year.
The latest Healthcare Quarterly – Activity and performance, January to March 2019 is available here. View local ambulance response times using BHI’s interactive ambulance performance tool. Full activity and performance results for each SA3 are available in BHI’s interactive data portal, Healthcare Observer.
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Dr Diane Watson is the Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information. She has 20 years of senior management experience measuring, monitoring and reporting on the performance of healthcare systems in Australia and internationally.
Lisa Corscadden is a senior researcher at the Bureau of Health Information. She has experience in healthcare research in Australia and Canada, with an interest in measuring equity in healthcare.
Lilian Daly is the Lead for Strategy and Engagement at the Bureau of Health Information. She holds a Master’s degree in public health from the University of New South Wales and has extensive experience as a healthcare clinician, researcher and educator.
Hilary is our Senior Director, Communications and Strategic Relations. She has extensive experience in developing policy and strategy around the role of information in improving healthcare.
Renee Carter is a former senior analyst at the Bureau of Health Information. She holds a Masters degree in health and social policy from the London School of Economics and a Doctorate in epidemiology from McGill University.
Jean-Frederic is the former Chief Executive of BHI. He is now Chief Executive of the Agency for Clinical Innovation.
Kim is the former Senior Director, Performance Measurement & Reporting at BHI. She has extensive experience in health services research in Australia and internationally.