Clinical Costing Standards

Clinical Costing Standards

Ronald Ma (Austin Health, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5082-2.ch001
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Standards are part of our lives. Clinical costing is no exception in this regard. Clinical costing standards are published documents comprising specifications and procedures to build consistent datasets for statutory purposes. The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority publishes and updates Australian Hospital Patient Costing Standards. The standards ensure compatibility and credibility. The standards formulate a consistent and transparent way to process costing. Compliance represents the production of reliable information which could be compared locally, nationally, and internationally. Health professionals could utilize these standards-compliant datasets for testing clinical guidelines for patient safety, developing patient classification systems for counting clinical services, and setting national efficient price for public hospital funding. The ultimate goal is to improve healthcare delivery in an equitable way and reduce human suffering.
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We use standards every day in our lives such as in computing, healthcare, transport and measurements. The main purpose is to ensure quality, safety, reliability and consistency in performing an intended purpose.


Standards are published documents forming specifications and procedures to follow. They address a range of issues and institute protocols that help ensure compatibility and credibility.

Why It Is Important?

Clinical costing standards (CCS) are no exception. They are developed to provide a common language and set of expectations enabling interoperability, comparability and consistency between different systems and health services. They are best-practice principles to costing hospital services. They provide a safety net and remove anxiety for users by assuring the fitness for purpose.

The application of CCS usually generates reliable and comparable datasets. Health professionals could utilise the standards-compliant datasets for testing clinical guidelines for safety, developing classification systems for counting services, and setting the National Efficient Price (NEP) for funding. The ultimate goal is to improve healthcare delivery and reduce human sufferings. CCS are similar to other healthcare informatics standards such as data exchange and system standards, and pharmacy and terminology standards, and medical device standards and public health reporting standards.

Who Develops Them?

Clinical costing community members and clinical costers (practitioners) are the driving force behind the development of standards providing their expertise and innovation, and promoting new concepts of ‘clinico-financial’ data interface and research.

A good quality clinical costing information is vital to day-to-day healthcare management. It is able to guide clinical services to understand clinical variation and patient-level costs. Therefore, it enhances quality clinical outcomes and eliminates waste. Clinician participation in clinical costing is central to this quality enhancement process since clinicians are key resource decision makers and quality pathway designers. However, the foundation for this participation is the standardised clinical cost data that is accurate, meaningful and comparable across peer hospitals. The standards help clinicians to see how best practice in clinical costing is embedded in the data.


Ccsaa Standards

The CCSAA was incorporated in 1998 at the time when there was a proliferation of the use of clinical costing systems in Australia, namely, Transition, Trendstar, PowerPerformance Management (PowerHealth) and CostPro. The CCSAA took up a role to standardise costing methodologies in a software-neutral way for comparability and benchmarking across hospitals. It was born out of Clinical Costing Standards Committee (CCSC) of 1997. The committee comprises clinical costers from Victorian healthcare networks and interstate hospitals. Therefore, CCSAA Standards are fully compliant with Queensland’s standards (The Clinical Costing Standards Association of Australia, 2013). Two New Zealand hospitals, the Department of Health and Children in Dublin (Ireland), the Kyoto University (Japan), Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom and Turkey were also members of the committee. In 2007, New South Wales Department of Health became a CCSAA member. The Clinical Costing Standards of England (CCSAE) was permitted to use CCSAA standards.

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