Outcomes that matter to patients

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Collaboration between health providers and support for patients to make decisions about their health care in partnership with their clinicians are key to achieving health outcomes that matter to patients, and better value for patients as well as governments, according to research published today in the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s academic journal, Australian Health Review.

‘In an opinion piece by Sally Lewis, the National Clinical Lead for Value-Based and Prudent Health Care in National Health Service Wales, value-based care is described as doing the right thing at the right time, with decisions better supported by data that comes directly from patient feedback’, says Alison Verhoeven, AHHA Chief Executive.

This is supported in an article on shared decision-making by a research team led by the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. This research will be further explored in a free webinar hosted by the Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care on 22 October (see more here ).

 A second article from NSW researchers found that collaboration between health providers was a key element in an integrated care program for patients with chronic disease in Western Sydney that has resulted in fewer hospital admissions and ED presentations.

‘In this program, the Western Sydney Local Health District, which manages hospitals, and Wentwest (the Western Sydney Primary Health Network) are working together to embed integrated care into everyday clinical practice across western Sydney.

‘The program focuses on services for people with type 2 diabetes, lung diseases, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Services can be delivered either in the hospital or in primary healthcare or specialist settings as required, but coordinated from the one point.

‘Shared care plans, care facilitators, rapid access clinics and rapid access stabilisation clinics are all part of the mix. So are GP support lines answered by specialists, multidisciplinary joint consultations and case conferences, and online education and training’, Ms Verhoeven said.

 ‘It’s no secret that people are living longer, but often with persisting chronic conditions that are best managed over the longer term by services delivered by a range of health and allied health professionals.

‘Our current health system is structured to reward, and pay for, occasions of service rather than results and outcomes that matter to patients.

‘The system is not set up for smooth coordination among different types of services, which can be bewildering for patients and result in unnecessary appointments and costs.

‘The out-of-pocket costs can get out of hand and people end up in hospitals and their emergency departments—high-cost healthcare environments—for conditions that might have been professionally managed earlier by GPs and other primary health providers at a lower cost.

Other articles in this month’s AHR that highlight the imperative to move from volume to value include:

  • Professor Stephen Jan from the George Institute for Global Health writes on making sense of paying for performance in health care and reconciling short-term targets with patient-relevant outcomes.
  • A Northern Territory research team considers implementing integrated care for Aboriginal health service users in remote areas.

The October 2019 issue of Australian Health Review is available online. Some articles are freely available through open access, while others need a subscription or can be purchased individually.

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. It has established the Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care to provide thought leadership in value-based health care. See: www.valuebasedcareaustralia.com.au 

Media contact: Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive AHHA. Phone 0403282501