Stepping up to the plate – health policy research addressing important social challenges

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

‘From climate change to institutional racism in hospitals, and equity in mental health care to the role of data in improving healthcare quality and safety, the latest edition of Australian Health Review features health policy research addressing some of the most important social challenges of our time’, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive, Alison Verhoeven.

‘Given the smoke haze hanging over many parts of Australia and the heightened risk of bushfires reported almost daily, an article on how local health districts can prepare for the effects of climate change, authored by a group of Sydney researchers, is very timely ’, says Ms Verhoeven.

Also published in the December edition of Australian Health Review is an article by AHHA’s Strategic Programs Director, Dr Chris Bourke, and Cairns health leaders Henrietta Marrie and Adrian Marrie, outlining a program to address institutional racism at a Queensland hospital.

 ‘This study has useful recommendations for healthcare organisations where disparities in outcomes are experienced amongst racial groups. It explores issues such as the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in governance, policy implementation, service delivery, employment and financial accountability.

‘The poorer health outcomes experienced by people with mental health conditions have been raised by the Productivity Commission in its recent interim report and by the Royal Commission under way in Victoria. Disparities in health care access are reported in an article by Corscadden and others.

‘An emerging area of work responding to the social determinants of health is the establishment of health justice partnerships, the subject of an article by Lewis and colleagues,’ says Ms Verhoeven.

Although there are many social challenges which require both health and social policy responses, there are also opportunities to do things differently in the health system to improve health outcomes for all Australians.

‘An article by a group of Queensland researchers on digital transformation of hospital quality and safety, using real-time data for real-time action is an important contribution to work being undertaken across Australia to implement digital health strategies.’

The December edition of Australian Health Review can be accessed here. Articles referenced in this media release are open access articles. Access to other articles can be requested using the media enquiry contact details provided below.

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:

Alison Verhoeven

0403 282 501