Development of the Australian Emergency Care Classification
Date published: 12 September 2017
The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) released a public consultation paper on the development of the Australian Emergency Care Classification (AECC) on Wednesday 8 November 2017. The public consultation process closed on Friday 8 December 2017.
This public consultation paper sought stakeholders’ views on the proposed structure and data items for inclusion for the AECC. The consultation paper described the work undertaken to date to develop a new classification system for emergency care services, provided details of the statistical data analysis undertaken and consultation processes used. A Technical compendium to the consultation paper was also published. The Technical compendium provided further information on the classification end classes and the grouping logic, to assist stakeholders in the review of the proposed classification.
The development of the AECC builds on a significant program of work to refine the ABF framework for emergency care. The structure of the AECC has been based on the detailed findings from the Investigative review of emergency care services in Australia for Activity Based Funding purposes (the Investigative review), completed in 2014, which evaluated local and international classification systems used for emergency care services. The Investigative review recommended the development of a new classification system for emergency care services in Australia that better utilised principal diagnosis and took into account patient complexity factors; replacing the current classification systems which use triage as a proxy for patient complexity.
The development of the AECC has been underpinned by a high quality costing study of emergency care services, completed in 2017. The Emergency care costing study included a representative sample of hospitals across Australia and collected a range of patient and stay characteristics as drivers of cost. The information from the costing study was used to inform the development of the AECC.
The AECC is in the interests of all Australian governments, public hospital health service providers, clinicians and patients. It will provide more accurate and clinically meaningful data on emergency care services; particularly the allocation of resources to reflect the complexity of patient. These factors will help drive higher quality patient care and outcomes.
As with other classification systems, the development of the AECC is an iterative process. As such, further work will be undertaken to enhance the classification system and data items in the future.