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Celebrating 50 issues of Healthcare Quarterly

Celebrating 50 issues of Healthcare Quarterly

Today we are celebrating 50 issues of Healthcare Quarterly, BHI’s flagship report that tracks quarterly activity and performance for emergency department, elective surgery, admitted patient and ambulance services in NSW.

Healthcare Quarterly is at the heart of what we do at BHI. Since its inception in 2010 we have worked hard to make the report as relevant and useful to our stakeholders as possible, implementing several significant updates and improvements that have made Healthcare Quarterly the trusted source of healthcare performance information it is today.

The first Healthcare Quarterly

BHI was established by the NSW Government in 2009 following the Garling Special Commission of Inquiry into Acute Care Services in NSW Public Hospitals.

Our biggest challenge at the outset was how to contextualise and present activity and performance information in a way that everyone could understand. I can still remember sitting at my kitchen table with coloured pencils, sketching out what would become the report’s first graphs and infographics.

The first issue of Healthcare Quarterly was released in September 2010 and covered April to June 2010. At 52 pages long, it included individual results for 66 hospitals on a range of measures.

This first issue set a new direction for statewide reporting on the NSW public health system – one of greater transparency and accountability.

Key advancements

From the solid foundation of the first issue of Healthcare Quarterly, we have continuously reviewed the report to see how it can be improved. In the past 12 years it has undergone several key advancements, including:

  • The launch of interactive data portal Healthcare Observer in June 2014, which enabled our stakeholders to explore and compare quarterly activity and performance data for NSW public hospitals at different levels and across time periods. The digitisation of Healthcare Quarterly data was further enhanced with the move to our current, more user-friendly, Data Portal.
  • In June 2017, the inclusion of reporting the number of inpatient episodes involving mental health treatment and, in September 2019, the introduction of reporting on seclusion and restraint practices in specialised acute mental health units – supporting the growing public interest in mental health services.
  • Also in June 2017, the introduction of quarterly reporting of ambulance performance data for NSW and 18 ambulance zones. In 2019 this reporting was made more meaningful when we transitioned to reporting measures for 91 standard geographical areas.
  • From mid-2020, the inclusion of special reporting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NSW health system in response to overwhelming interest in how service delivery had been affected.
  • In an effort to make the report more accessible and relevant to its audiences, the April to June 2021 issue saw a major redesign with the introduction of a shorter, more streamlined report focused on key findings for the quarter.

Healthcare Quarterly 50th issue

Healthcare Quarterly now includes NSW-level results for more than 170 public hospitals and 91 local ambulance reporting areas.

While we continue to report on many of the same measures we did back in 2010, the significantly enhanced Healthcare Quarterly we are releasing today is the culmination of 12 years of hard work. It is a credit to the expertise, rigour and guidance of BHI’s highly skilled data analytics, reporting and communications specialists, who are at the forefront of the health performance reporting space in Australia.

Like the healthcare system it reports on, Healthcare Quarterly will continue to be dynamic and responsive to new challenges and opportunities while always keeping in mind the main goal of performance reporting: improving experiences and outcomes for patients.

I would like to thank BHI staff past and present who have worked on Healthcare Quarterly, our many and varied stakeholders, and the community for their continued engagement with our products.

Page updated: 6 Dec 2022