University of Tasmania

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Potentially preventable hospitalisations in rural community-dwelling patients

Background:Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) are a common occurrence. Knowing the factors associated with PPHs may allow high-risk patients to be identified and healthcare resources to be better allocated, and these factors may differ between urban and rural locations.

Aim: To determine factors associated with PPHs in an Australian rural population.

Method: A retrospective review of admitted patients' demographic and clinical data was used to describe and model the factors associated with PPHs, using an age- and sex-matched control group of non-admitted patients.

Setting:A multi-site rural general practice, Tasmania.

Participants: Patients aged >18 years residing in the Huon-Bruny Island region of Tasmania, who were active patients at a rural general practice and were admitted to a public hospital for a PPH between 1/7/2016 and 30/6/2019.

Main outcome measures: Overnight admission to hospital for a PPH.

Results: Predictors with a significant odds-ratio (OR) in the final model were being single/unmarried (OR 2.43, 95%CI 1.38-4.28), higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (OR 1.40, 95%CI 1.13-1.74) and the number of general practice visits in the preceding 12 months (OR 1.09, 95%CI 1.05-1.14).

Conclusion(s): This study found that being single and having a higher comorbidity burden were the strongest independent risk factors for PPHs in a rural population. Demographic and socioeconomic factors appeared to be as, if not more, important than medical factors and warrant attention when considering the design of programs to reduce PPH risk in rural communities. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Internal Medicine Journal




School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Blackwell Publishing Asia

Place of publication

54 University St, P O Box 378, Carlton, Australia, Victoria, 3053

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Treatment of human diseases and conditions; Health system performance (incl. effectiveness of programs)

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