Shaking up value-based health care: how and why it can work in Australia

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

‘Everyone wants value from public and private spending in health care, but defining value is not a clear cut exercise, and adopting strategies from other countries without considering local context rarely works,’ said Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

‘In launching its Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care and two issues briefs which explore definitions and funding options, the AHHA highlights work being undertaken by its members and partners as they seek to maximise value in health care and build on work being led by Commonwealth, state and territory governments to move the focus in health policy from volume to value.

‘Health systems around the world have been exploring how to move the focus of their activities from delivering volume to delivering value. In doing so, they are trying to re-orient health service delivery to provide improved patient outcomes, often while reducing the overall cost of delivery.

‘To lay the foundation for what value-based health care means in Australia, the Centre’s first paper considers Australia’s alignment with a value-based approach and identifies important enablers that must be part of a coordinated national strategy.

‘To enable value-based health care through public policy in Australia, Value based health care: setting the scene for Australia by AHHA Policy Director Kylie Woolcock recommends a national, cross-sector strategy for value-based health care in Australia supported by: access to relevant and up-to-date data; evidence for value-based health care in the Australian context; a health workforce strategy supporting models of care that embrace a value-based approach; and funding systems that incentivise value.

‘Team-based care models with professionals working at the top of their licence may offer more effective, timelier and better value care than traditional care systems.

‘Funding arrangements need to move away from a reliance on traditional fee-for-service models, which can entrench fragmented care. Rewards and funding should be re-oriented to what matters to patients, namely health outcomes and ongoing effective management of chronic conditions.

Re-orienting funding from volume to value in public dental health services by Dental Health Services Victoria’s Dr Shalika Hegde outlines how they became the first organisation in Australia to implement a patient-centric, and outcomes and prevention focused value-based health care model in the public dental sector using existing funding.

Said Ms Verhoeven, ‘Dr Hegde argues for strong national leadership and the cooperation of all jurisdictions to implement a national public dental funding system focused on value and outcomes—which will benefit all parties.

‘This is not about saving money—this is about achieving better outcomes that matter to patients and getting better value for every public dollar spent.

‘We invite innovative organisations from around Australia to partner with us to go on the value-based health care journey’, Ms Verhoeven said.

Visit the Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care at www.valuebasedcareaustralia.com.au. To find out more about the AHHA, visit www.ahha.asn.au.

The Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care is the nexus of the value-based health care movement in Australia, bringing together educational and training opportunities, quality research and best practice case studies into a hub where those interested in value-based health care can easily find resources.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, AHHA, 0403 282 501