Re‐imagining health care for an ageing population

Renuka Visvanathan and Donald Campbell
Med J Aust 2023; 219 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.52023
Published online: 7 August 2023

In this issue of the MJA, Reid and colleagues describe private and public hospital bed utilisation in Australia during 1993–2020, with a particular interest in use by older people.1 They report that, despite overall bed utilisation rising from 21.0 million to 29.9 million bed‐days during this period, population utilisation rates for multiple day admissions declined, by almost 40% for people aged 65 years or more and by 17% for those under 65 years of age, primarily because mean hospital stays were shorter. However, the decline in length of stay was minimal in recent years, suggesting that the potential for efficiency gains from this source is now close to exhausted. Without analysing linked data the authors could not determine to what extent administrative transfers within hospitals or same‐day transfers between co‐located hospitals contributed to reduced length of stay.1

  • 1 The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide, SA
  • 2 Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide, SA
  • 3 Adelaide Medical School, the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA
  • 4 Northern Health, Melbourne, VIC

Competing interests:

Renuka Visvanathan is a member of the founding team for, a technology start‐up involved in virtual health care.


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