Project objectives

The NT Department of Health wished to provide education to clinicians from Royal Darwin Hospital on clinical coding, classification and activity based funding (ABF), with an emphasis on the implications of poor documentation on payments under ABF.

Northern Territory Department of Health

Our approach

HPA designed and delivered education sessions with three separate divisions of the hospital. Approximately 40 staff attended. The aims of the sessions were to:

  • Introduce clinicians to key concepts in clinical coding, classification and ABF, as a basis for understanding how clinical documentation is used for these purposes.
  • Highlight the importance of clinical documentation for effective and timely communication in care provision, and as a quality and safety tool.
  • Raise awareness about the different service streams of care, and the importance of ‘type changing’ for funding purposes.
  • Provide NT-specific examples of the impact of poor documentation (e.g. omitting diagnoses, lack of clarity and/ or specificity) on AR-DRG assignment and payment under ABF.

The sessions were run as a trial for NT Health to ascertain the current level of knowledge of the above issues amongst clinicians, and to identify further education needs in this area.


A formal evaluation of the sessions was undertaken. Participants rated all aspects of the education and the relevance of the sessions to their work as a ‘4’ on a 5-point scale, with ‘5’ being the highest positive rating. The evaluation identified further areas for education.

Our vision

HPA aims to be a leading firm in specialist consulting services in the health care sector, offering qualitative and quantitative analysis and synthesis of evidence, providing expertise in statistics and data science, and contributing to well founded and practical policy advice. We aim to deliver the highest quality of services, helping our clients to achieve their objectives, while transferring our expertise and building their capabilities.

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