Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Designing an activity-based costing model for a non-admitted prisoner healthcare setting

Xiao Cai A , Elizabeth Moore B C D and Martin McNamara A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Executive Support and Planning Unit, Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, Justice Health Administration Centre, 1300 Anzac Parade, Malabar, NSW 2036, Australia. Email:

B Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice, Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, Suite 302, Level 2, Westfield Office Tower, 152 Bunnerong Road, Pagewood, NSW 2035, Australia.

C National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Health Review 37(4) 418-422
Submitted: 4 December 2012  Accepted: 24 April 2013   Published: 19 June 2013


Aim. To design and deliver an activity-based costing model within a non-admitted prisoner healthcare setting.

Method. Key phases from the NSW Health clinical redesign methodology were utilised: diagnostic, solution design and implementation.

Results. The diagnostic phase utilised a range of strategies to identify issues requiring attention in the development of the costing model. The solution design phase conceptualised distinct ‘building blocks’ of activity and cost based on the speciality of clinicians providing care. These building blocks enabled the classification of activity and comparisons of costs between similar facilities. The implementation phase validated the model.

Conclusions. The project generated an activity-based costing model based on actual activity performed, gained acceptability among clinicians and managers, and provided the basis for ongoing efficiency and benchmarking efforts.

Keywords: activity-based funding, benchmarking, outpatient.


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