Shared care teams to provide better outcomes for cancer patients

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

With technologies for early detection improving, over 1.1 million Australians are now living with cancer, and this is expected to rise to 1.9 million people by 2040 with the majority being long-term cancer survivors.

Released today by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, the Issues Brief ‘Integrating shared care teams into cancer follow-up care models’ focuses on the gaps in knowledge of how shared care models are currently implemented in Australia and how going forward national clinical governance frameworks that allow for continued monitoring and quality improvement can be developed. This Brief was authored by 2022 Deeble Summer Scholar, Dr Fiona Crawford-Williams from Flinders University.

‘By consistently utilising shared care teams in cancer follow up care, we can provide better value care for the patient through care that meets the needs that are important to them, as well as reducing unnecessary costs for the system,’ says AHHA Acting Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock.

‘Despite recognition of the benefits of shared care, these models have not been implemented consistently. Data about where shared care services are being delivered, the roles of the care providers involved, and the subsequent health outcomes is limited.

‘We need to collect patient outcomes data from shared care follow-up models to ensure quality care is being delivered.

‘We also need to map the current health workforce delivering follow-up cancer care to understand where resources are being used, to ensure shared care models are sustainable.

‘Health funding reforms are necessary to better provide for these types of care pathways. Patients and families are expected to navigate complicated health care and funding models, at a time when they may still be undergoing treatment. Consideration should be given to alternative funding based on periods of care.

‘A national governance framework for follow-up care is needed to address fragmentation of care experience, with practical guidance on the delivery of shared care follow-up that can be adapted to suit patient’s individual needs.

‘Integrated shared care for cancer follow-up wraps care around the patient and their family, it has the potential to improve the patient journey and experience, but we need to implement robust guidelines and principles on how this care is delivered to provide the best possible outcome for patients and our health care system.’

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit healthcare.

Media enquiries: Kylie Woolcock, Acting Chief Executive, AHHA
0410 625 830