Rural Acute Hospital Data Register

The Rural Acute Hospital Data Register (RAHDaR) project is a new regional initiative being supported by Western Alliance as one of a possible series of demonstration projects for its Regional Data Collaboration.

Investigators: A/Prof Tim Baker and Kate Kloot, South West Healthcare and Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine, Deakin University
For completion by: January 2018
Western Alliance funding: $34,987

Very little data is collected and collated from Victoria’s 45 small rural hospital-based emergency care facilities, despite the fact that their patients share a common patient identification number across the hospitals. They simply report one figure – the total number of patients they see each year. Those figures show these facilities manage approximately 140,000 emergency presentations annually – 8 per cent of all emergency presentations in Victoria, including critically ill and injured patients.

Currently it is not possible to determine details of these presentations, such as patient demographics, triage category, details of arrival and departure, and diagnosis data. This reduces the ability to examine how rural emergency care is shared, the types of patient presentations and needs of the region or, with linkage to other health databases, to evaluate how a change in clinical or procedural practice in one organisation might benefit or harm another.

This project aims to develop a comprehensive and ongoing emergency care database in south-west Victoria by collating data where it is not collated, and linking currently unlinked data. Data will be collected from all rural hospitals in south-west Victoria. (This scalable project will consider extension of data collection to 14 hospitals in the Grampians sub-region, and potential further.)

The project’s outcomes provide for both clinical service delivery and research benefits. Small hospitals will gain a new source of information to guide service delivery, while researchers will benefit by gaining access to data. Rural communities requiring emergency care will benefit from both.

The project’s outputs will be development of a working emergency care database for the south-west sub-region’s hospitals and a ready source of data for research, publication in academic journals and conference presentations.

  • About the author: Western Alliance

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