Australian Health Review asks how health sector can adapt to meet future challenges

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The latest edition of the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association’s (AHHA) peer-reviewed academic journal Australian Health Review (AHR) takes an in-depth look at a number of pressing issues throughout the health sector, including the use of emergency departments by older people, and whether our health service is prepared for future health megatrends.

AHR Editor In Chief Professor Gary Day examines the social developments that could influence the delivery of health services in the near future, including a digitalised future and increased use of smartphone health apps, rising entrepreneurship, the more globalised marketplace, an increasingly urbanised world, resource consumption and increasing health expectations from a growing middle class, and increasing cost pressures.

“Our health workforce will need a range of technical and personal skills, aside from their clinical skills, to meet these changes,” Professor Day said.

“Staff will need to embrace rapid change and dealing with ambiguity; be technologically savvy; have advanced data analysis and interpretation skills; shift thinking from illness to wellness; a move from an acute care focus to prevention and community patient-centred health services; promotion of care models emphasising greater community integration for chronic disease management and intermediate and long-term care; developing an approach to care from mass to personalised health care; digital ‘relationships’ between health professionals and consumers; and exploring expanded and changed professional roles just to name a few.”

Among the other featured articles in the latest edition of AHR is an article which studies the use of emergency departments by older Australians. “The ‘unnecessary’ use of emergency departments by older people: findings from hospital data, hospital staff and older people”, by Debbie Faulkner and Julia Law, found that for many older people the emergency department was an appropriate place to attend considering their condition, though some presentations could be circumvented with appropriate and increased services in the community. However, as many older people suffer comorbidities, careful consideration needs to be given as to the best possible practices to achieve this.

Other featured articles included “Pre-entry student clinical placement demand: can it be met?” and “Relinquishing or taking control? Community perspectives on barriers and opportunities in advance care planning” and “A multi-organisation aged care emergency service for acute care management of older residents in aged care facilities”.

“Research published in AHR provides invaluable insight into the wide-ranging challenges confronting the health sector and an evidence base for policy development to ensure our health system provides sustainable, equitable and quality health services for all Australians," AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

To access AHR 39(5), click here.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501