Chronic disease and infection: potentially preventable hospitalisations

Potentially preventable hospitalisations are those that could have been avoided if the person’s condition had been managed better, earlier. This chapter of the Fourth Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation examines chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney infections and urinary tract infections, heart failure, cellulitis, and diabetes complications.

In 2017–18, more than 330,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations were due to the five conditions in this chapter.

There was substantial variation between local areas. For example, for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the highest hospitalisation rate was about 18 times higher than the lowest rate.

This variation means that people with chronic diseases do not always get recommended care. Healthcare investment and policies must be used to better coordinate different parts of the health system, such as primary care, specialists in the community, allied health care and hospital care, to reduce potentially preventable hospitalisations.

Each page includes a summary of findings and recommendations, interactive maps and graphs, and downloadable data.