Health Care Costs Associated with Avoidable Hospitalisations

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

More than 10 million hospitalisations occur annually in Australia for the treatment of a range of conditions across 1,322 structurally diverse, and geographically dispersed public and private hospitals. These hospitalisations are exceedingly costly. For example, in 2016-17 healthcare cost Australia over $112.0 billion, with 47.8% ($63.8 billion) of the total cost spent on public hospitals, making hospitals the largest area of health expenditure. As the number of hospital encounters continues to rise, it is increasingly realised that a proportion of hospitalisations including readmissions occur for avoidable or preventable conditions. Accordingly, recent policy reforms have focused on reducing avoidable hospitalisations including the implementation of financial penalties for hospitals with high rates of preventable readmissions. However, despite the policy intervention, the cost of preventable hospitalisations and early readmissions in Australia is uncertain and has not been systematically evaluated. Moreover, the potential cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce readmissions is uncertain.

The SAFER Hospitals study is an NHMRC funded national data linkage study that brought together nationally linked hospitalisation and outcome data for all public and most private hospitals for the first time in Australia. The key aims of this project are to assess hospital-wide outcomes of care such as adverse events, avoidable hospitalisations and readmissions. In this project, the PhD candidate will assess healthcare costs and resource use associated with hospitalisations and estimate the proportion of direct costs that may be avoidable. The candidate will specifically examine costs of early readmissions and hospital-related adverse events. The PhD project will also model the cost-effectiveness of proposed interventions to reduce hospital readmissions using national data.

The PhD opportunity is available for a student with an Honours or a Master’s degree in health economics or a related field to join the SAFER Hospitals Research Team at the Northside Clinical Unit, located on the Prince Charles Hospital Campus. The candidate will have a strong interest and skills in health economics evaluation, clinical epidemiological and statistical skills.  Familiarity with linked administrative data is highly desirable.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Associate Professor Isuru Ranasinghe

Faculty of Medicine


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of health economics, cost of disease and cost-effectiveness analysis and linked administrative data would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of health economics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of health economics is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process