Improving outpatient and community care

Reduce preventable visits to hospital by 5% through to 2023 by caring for people in the community.

Hands holding

Why is this important?

There are many people in our communities who have complex chronic health and social needs. Focusing on healthcare in the community helps people better understand and manage their health care needs, and stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, while ensuring the hospital system operates as efficiently as possible.

Supporting patients in the community using integrated approaches to care, delivering care closer to home while also reducing preventable visits to hospital, supports patients to receive the right care, in the right place and at the right time.

The Premier’s Priority aims to reduce potentially preventable visits to hospital by 5% through to 2023 for people who can safely receive their care in the community. Delivering this result will strengthen the care provided to people in the community, improve the experience for patients and keep people healthier in the long-term.

How are we tracking?

Reducing the number of days spent in hospital for patients with preventable conditions has required a focused and coordinated effort between hospitals and primary care providers. The proportion of total days spent in hospital in 2020-2021 by people with conditions where hospitalisation is potentially preventable has improved by 1.6 percentage points since baseline (2017-18). Prior to this the rate had been increasing since 2015-2016. 

While the pandemic has been a significant challenge for our health services and staff, it has also driven increased availability and uptake of virtual care services, improving access for patients to high quality multidisciplinary specialist care in many settings across NSW. The state-wide implementation of the risk-of-hospitalisation algorithm is also assisting in the early identification of patients who are at risk of hospitalisation. 


Improving outpatient and community care data information sheet (PDF 237.23KB)

What are we doing? 


NSW Health is responding to increasing health care needs by supporting local health districts to implement innovative, locally-led models of appropriate and coordinated care that meet the needs of patients.  

These innovative methods include data linkage programs and patient identification algorithms to support early identification of patients who are at-risk or require increased coordination of their care.

These initiatives also improve linkages between primary, community and hospital care, expand virtual care models, increase access to preventative care, and support patients to be treated outside of hospital settings when safe and appropriate.

NSW Health is working with primary care partners to scale up those initiatives which are having the greatest impact on outcomes for vulnerable and at-risk populations. This will further increase accessibility to appropriate care pathways. 


Outpatient and community care
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