Health Care Homes—great way forward, but may fail if not done well

Thursday, April 20, 2017

‘With the Australian Government’s Health Care Homes trial due to start in July, it’s not too late to ensure the program design will support success’, says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

‘Health Care Homes hold the potential for significant patient-centred reform, but without shared principles for success, and the right enablers, there is significant potential for failure and the risk that this important reform will be shelved.’

A Deeble Institute Issues Brief released today by AHHA highlights the work that still needs to be done to ensure that the Health Care Home trial paves the way for enduring reform.

‘If done well, the Health Care Home model will drive better health outcomes by providing integrated and coordinated care and reducing unnecessary hospitalisations’, says Ms Verhoeven.

‘But truly coordinated and efficient care that is patient-centred, flexible and tailored to local needs and the capacity of the local workforce will be difficult to achieve without first having shared principles.

‘These principles need to be shared across government, the various Health Care Homes, the health system as a whole, and importantly, patients and their families and carers.

‘From our research, including examining other coordinated care models in Australia and overseas, we think the following shared principles must be signed up to by all involved:

·         a holistic view of health and wellbeing

·         patient and family centred healthcare

·         continuous and collaborative relationships

·         comprehensive team-based approach

·         shared decision making with patients

·         coordinated care across the system

·         accessible, affordable, equitable and appropriate care

·         high-value, evidence-based, safe and quality care

·         well-supported health care workforce and workplaces

·         sustainable funding, including alignment of the business model and the care model.

‘There is no doubt that some of these principles will challenge existing models of care. The required changes will take time, up-front investment and strong leadership at all levels of the system. We can learn a lot from existing services, such as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the Veterans Care Program, which share many of the attributes identified in our research as key principles for successful implementation of Health Care Homes’, Ms Verhoeven said

‘In recent months, the Australian Government has been very quiet on progress towards rolling out the Health Care Homes trial. If 1 July 2017 is to be the start date as promised in the last federal budget, now is the time to be ensuring that all stakeholders, including patients, are moving forward together and contributing to much-needed debate about the type of health system we want in Australia in the future.’

For more information on the AHHA, visit

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services.


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