As Australia’s healthcare needs are constantly growing and changing, particularly in a post-COVID environment and with our ageing population, our healthcare system needs to keep pace with these changes if it is to provide quality and accessible care to people who are most in need. “Ensuring safety and quality, and consistent monitoring and reviewing, is a key component of any well-functioning healthcare system,” Australian Health Review Editor-in-Chief Dr Sonĵ Hall said.
The June 2023 issue of the Australian Health Review, the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association’s peer-reviewed journal, includes health policy research that strengthens the evidence base and leads us towards the best possible healthcare system to provide Australians with safe, high quality and financially accessible care.
Reducing diagnostic errors is one aspect of improving care.
A Perspective in this month’s issue examines how healthcare organisations can improve diagnostic safety. It is estimated that diagnostic errors affect up to 10% of clinical encounters and is a major contributing factor to 1 in 100 hospital deaths.
Dr Hall said healthcare funding reform is another key area of interest on the issue, as many households in Australia continue to face high levels of financial pressure that can affect their ability to seek healthcare or afford the necessary medications.
“Even with increased Medicare funding, patients often face significant financial barriers in accessing radiation oncology services. As discussed in a study from the University of Technology Sydney, future healthcare policy should ensure that these services are more accessible and affordable for all patients in need of care.
“In looking to progress better health outcomes for older Australians through new and updated models of care, research from The University of Western Australia examines the effectiveness of a facility-based transition care program. The program aims to improve rehabilitation outcomes and support older adults in returning to and remaining at home after in-patient care.
He further emphasised the need to look after the healthcare workforce and plan for future healthcare and workforce needs. “Research in this issue also features articles on supporting injured workers to return to work, optimising rostering patterns for junior doctors, skills development for peer messengers – as part of a professional accountability program, and nursing and midwifery strategic workforce planning.”