Health leaders testing health policy options

Thursday, October 23, 2014

About 85 health leaders from all parts of the health system and the country gather in Canberra today for the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s (AHHA) Integrated Care Simulation, which tests three major potential health policy initiatives and their likely impact on health services and system integration.

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven says that the simulation, supported by Novartis, will give insight into how current policy considerations might play out across the health sector, and highlight areas where extra focus may be needed.

“With representatives from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, as well as from advocacy groups, this simulation exercise aims to help inform government decision-making about potential health policy reforms,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“It will give participants the opportunity to identify the strengths of our health system, and its weaknesses, in requiring collaboration between organisations of varying sizes and structures, often with competing priorities.”

With roving journalists, complex scenarios and unexpected ‘curve balls’ to shake things up, Ms Verhoeven hopes the event will be one that tests the participants and reflects real world challenges.

“It’s an activity we can build on as we debate key policy issues, supporting the AHHA’s strong belief in evidence-based policy that does not lose sight of the overarching goal of affordable, accessible quality healthcare in Australia.”

The simulation approach was chosen for its capacity to enact a highly realistic but safe learning environment to test policies and structures and provide an insight into outcomes that may result through a test process.

“By enacting these scenarios in a highly realistic but stage-managed environment, we will be able to learn how these health leaders operate, both individually and within the broader health context,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“In doing so, we hope to encourage networking and ‘big picture’ thinking across the sector and throughout the various layers of the Australian health system.”

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services, and advocates for universal, high quality and affordable healthcare to benefit the whole community.