Public reporting of hospital outcomes based on administrative data

Kerry Innes, Kirsten McKenzie and Sue Walker
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00696.x
Published online: 20 November 2006

To the Editor: We recently read with concern the article by Scott and Ward on public reporting of hospital outcomes.1 While we do not want to enter into the debate about whether the public release of hospital performance reports is beneficial or harmful, we would like to address some issues relating to the accuracy of administrative data. The authors stated that “data are often [our italics] inaccurate, incomplete, or provide insufficient clinical detail” and that the “accuracy of diagnosis coding is vari-able”. They also mention the potential for “gaming” or “up-coding” by hospitals to make their institutions look better in public reports.

  • 1 National Centre for Classification in Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 National Centre for Classification in Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.


  • 1. Scott IA, Ward M. Public reporting of hospital outcomes based on administrative data: risks and opportunities. Med J Aust 2006; 184: 571-575. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Vu HD, Heller RF, Lim LL, et al. Mortality after acute myocardial infarction is lower in metropolitan regions than in non-metropolitan regions. J Epidemiol Community Health 2000; 54: 590-595.
  • 3. Powell H, Lim LL, Heller RF. Accuracy of administrative data to assess comorbidity in patients with heart disease: an Australian perspective. J Clin Epidemiol 2001; 54: 687-693.


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