Twenty years of monitoring acute stroke care in Australia through the national stroke audit programme (1999–2019): A cross-sectional study

Tara Purvis, Dominique A. Cadilhac, Kelvin Hill, Megan Reyneke, Muideen T. Olaiya, Lachlan L. Dalli, Joosup Kim, Lisa Murphy, Bruce C.V. Campbell, Monique F. Kilkenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: National organisational surveys and clinical audits to monitor and guide improvements to the delivery of evidence-based acute stroke care have been undertaken in Australia since 1999. This study aimed to determine the association between repeated national audit cycles on stroke service provision and care delivery from 1999 to 2019. Methods: Cross-sectional study using data from organisational surveys (1999, 2004, 2007–2019) and clinical data from the biennial National Stroke Acute Audit (2007–2019). Age-, sex-, and stroke severity-adjusted proportions were reported for adherence to guideline-recommended care processes. Multivariable, logistic regression models were performed to determine the association between repeated audit cycles and service provision (organisational) and care delivery (clinical). Results: Overall, 197 hospitals provided organisational survey data (1999–2019), with 24,996 clinical cases from 136 hospitals (around 40 cases per audit) (2007–2019). We found significant improvements in service organisation between 1999 and 2019 for access to stroke units (1999: 42%, 2019: 81%), thrombolysis services (1999: 6%, 2019: 85%), and rapid assessment/management for patients with transient ischaemic attack (1999: 11%, 2019: 61%). Analyses of patient-level audits for 2007 to 2019 found the odds of receiving care processes per audit cycle to have significantly increased for thrombolysis (2007: 3%, 2019: 11%; OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.13, 1.17), stroke unit access (2007: 52%, 2019: 69%; OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.14, 1.17), risk factor advice (2007: 40%, 2019: 63%; OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.09, 1.12), and carer training (2007: 24%, 2019: 51%; OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.10, 1.15). Conclusions: Between 1999 and 2019, the quality of acute stroke care in Australia has improved in line with best practice evidence. Standardised monitoring of stroke care can inform targeted efforts to reduce identified gaps in best practice, and illustrate the evolution of the health system for stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health Services Research and Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • audit and feedback
  • quality of health care
  • Stroke

Cite this