News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Hospital productivity in NZ bucks the trend

1 May 2012

Hospital productivity in NZ bucks the trend

Victoria University health researchers say hospital productivity in New Zealand rose by more than three to five percent in the period between 2007 and 2009, challenging perceptions that productivity rates in the sector are declining.

A study led by Dr Jaikishan Desai from Victoria’s Health Services Research Centre in the School of Government analysed hospital productivity over the three years by looking at the number of people treated as inpatients, outpatients or in emergency departments, for each dollar of expenditure incurred by district health boards.

Dr Desai says that importantly, the study also shows increases in hospital efficiency in the same period.

He says researchers looked at three different measures of efficiency, covering technology change, technical efficiency and allocation of staff and resources, and all showed an improvement between 2007 and 2009.

The team was surprised by the findings, says Dr Desai, and checked the analysis using three different methods, all of which showed significant improvements in productivity and efficiency.

He says there is already international interest in the findings because they run counter to widely held views that hospital productivity is falling in developed countries.

The research also shows that the length of inpatient stays is dropping and more people are instead attending outpatient clinics.

“Hospitals clearly are trying to shift towards lower cost treatments,” says Dr Desai.

The study did not look at how this move is impacting on patient outcomes.

Dr Desai says the research findings are being written up for publication in academic journals.

“Internationally, there is little research on how hospital productivity changes over time despite its implications for funding of health services.

“Hospitals take a big chunk of government spending on health services so it’s important to know what value you are getting for the money.”

Dr Desai says an area of concern is the limited analysis of health data that takes place in New Zealand.

“We are very good at gathering information through questionnaires and surveys but less adept at finding out what it is telling us.

“There are some very capable people with research skills, but relatively little money is allocated for analysis of health services data—much of it goes to epidemiological and medically oriented studies. It’s a shame because finding new cures and treatments is not enough—we also have to figure out the best way of delivering them to the population.”

The research was done in collaboration with the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, Christchurch and funded by the Health Research Council


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland