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After the Quality in Australian Health Care Study, what happened?

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Milestones in Australia’s journey to high-quality care

The 1995 Quality in Australian Health Care Study (QAHCS) demonstrated the potential to improve the quality and safety of health care.13 Using a modified version of the earlier Harvard Medical Practice Study on medical negligence, the QAHCS focused on the more useful measure of preventability of medical error. The incidence of adverse events was higher than in the Harvard study, and at first the Australian rates were queried by government: 16.6% of hospital admissions were associated with an adverse event, of which 51.2% were judged to have high preventability. Many countries replicated the Australian study, using one medical reviewer rather than two as in the QAHCS, which reduced the estimate by about 3%. Overall, a consistent rate of about 10% of hospital admissions associated with an adverse event was seen in New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Denmark. In 2012, a World Health Organization study on adverse events in developing countries showed a similar result.4

The Australian Government responded with a succession of initiatives: the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care was established by Australian health ministers in 2000 and operated until 2005; the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care…