Cultural change, shared vision needed alongside data, technology to meet health challenges

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cultural change and shared vision amongst health system stakeholders is needed if we are to move beyond fragmented, short-term changes in health, according to participants in the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s (AHHA) recent Think Tank Looking Over The Horizon: Where to next for the Australian Health System?.

 “Reimagining the Australian health system will require centering the health system around patients, redesigning workforce and professional roles, reducing silos and exploring strategic partnerships,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“The Think Tank’s communique notes agreement that a whole of system approach is needed, based on culture change and increased use of technology and data.”

“The Think Tank challenged stakeholders to look beyond funding models as drivers of reform, and consider the opportunities presented by shared decision-making between providers and consumers, use of data to target care and achieve better patient outcomes, greater continuity of care across the health system and complementary sectors, investment in prevention and a focus on reducing futile care.”

While technology and data were acknowledged as an enabler of change, participants identified a need to urgently address workforce challenges including the ageing workforce demographic, increased professional expectations and unpredictable and decreasing funding.

The consumer’s changing role in their own care was another key topic. It was argued by some that increasing health literacy among patients would necessitate increased education about the risks of self-diagnosis and use online platforms as a source of health information. The potential value of ‘system wranglers’ who could bring a whole-of-system approach to the care of patients with complex needs was also discussed

“We commend the ideas developed at the Think Tank to health leaders and policymakers. Ensuring Australia’s health system continues to deliver equitable, accessible and sustainable care to all Australians depends on shared vision, collaboration and open dialogue, and a move away from siloed interests.” 

Media enquiries:
Alison Verhoeven
Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0403 282 501