Latest Australian Health Review explores patient-centred care and care system efficiency and outcomes

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Contemporary issues in patient-centred care, and the efficiency and effectiveness of various care systems, are the two common threads in the April 2017 edition of Australian Health Review (AHR) according to the AHR’s chief editor, Professor Gary Day.

AHR is the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s peer-reviewed academic journal.

‘With several articles aligning with these two themes, a good entry point is a study of the two main national approaches to controlling chronic disease in Australia—the 2005 National Chronic Disease Strategy (NCDS), and the 2008 National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH)’, Professor Day said.

‘With increasing life expectancy in Australia, chronic diseases, especially combinations of chronic conditions at older ages, are in several ways driving current efforts to provide patient-centred and integrated care services.

‘The 29 health leaders interviewed for the study saw the NCDS as providing national leadership and coordination, but limited by a lack of associated funding, or commitments to infrastructure or implementation plans. Conversely, the NPAPH was welcomed for its associated funding and flexibility in catering to unique populations, but needed stronger national leadership, and more guidance on the evidence base for decisions.’

A study from Victoria examines various models of population-based regional health planning and management, which are aimed at individual medical and social care. These are compared with a regional operating model developed in the North West Metropolitan Region in Victoria, with the Victorian model performing very well.

An article on health systems integration in local health districts in New South Wales concludes that more needs to be done in terms of genuine community involvement, and staff education and training.

Care coordination for older people living in the community is the subject of one study, while another looks at systematic approaches to developing the rural health workforce to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.

‘There is an interesting article on the average time taken from presentation to treat pain through analgesics in emergency departments, and the effects of the current ‘90% seen in under 4 hours’ national target. Emergency departments are also under scrutiny in an article on ‘rapid disposition’ techniques used by emergency clinicians to save unnecessary waiting time’, Professor Day said.

Other articles cover GP Practice Nurses, clinician perceptions of discharges from public hospitals for trauma patients, a comparison of costing methods for hospital services, and advocacy for workplace screening for early detection of heart failure using a new biomarker test.

Mental health issues are to the fore in a ‘perspective’ item on the need for a consistent national clinical pathway for suicidal patients presenting to emergency departments. There is also a comparison of the demographic characteristics of people with mental illness in various types of residential rehabilitation units in Queensland.

‘We also have some international perspectives—the work intentions of public hospital doctors in a middle level city in China, the effects of social integration on depression in older people in Korea, and some observations on non-communicable disease control policy in Indonesia, where the health burden due to tobacco smoking is the highest in the world.’

AHHA is proud to support research through AHR that contributes to the delivery of high quality, efficient and effective health services for all Australians. For more information on AHHA, visit

Find the abovementioned articles and many others by viewing AHR 41(2) here. (Some articles are freely available through open access, while for others a subscription to AHR is needed, or can be individually purchased.)

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


Media enquiries: Prof. Gary Day, Editor-in-Chief, Australian Health Review, 0422 236 571