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Latest Australian research highlights moves towards high-value healthcare

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Challenges in moving from volume to value in healthcare were highlighted in a Productivity Commission, a health case study, released last week.

“The latest edition of the Australian Health Review, the academic journal of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), tackles these challenges head-on and provides a body of evidence demonstrating progress in the Australian health system towards outcomes-focused, value-oriented healthcare,” says Editor-in-Chief, Professor Sonj Hall.

While knowledge translation strategies have been used to reduce low-value care, there has been less focus on the socio-cognitive factors underpinning behavioural change. Professor Ian Scott (University of Qld) and Professor Steven McPhail (Queensland University of Technology) propose an approach that includes clinician, manager and patient engagement in defining and understanding low-value care,
converting intentions for change to action, and using nudge strategies and shared decision-making to sustain change.

The use of data and financial incentives to drive quality improvement in hip fracture care in Western Australian hospitals are described in a case study by Dr Hannah Seymour and colleagues. The researchers found that regular monitoring and reporting on care processes and patient outcomes can lead to improvements in both measures. They noted that incentive payments may have contributed to the best practice improvements reported in the case study.

A study undertaken at Northern Health (Victoria) measured the economic impact of hospital-acquired complications on acute health service. Fernando-Canavan et al provide a template for other health services to inform targeted patient safety programs.

The outcomes that matter to patients are central to a value-based approach to healthcare, and importantly, must consider equity of outcomes. Dr Majoni et al report on a review of current pathways to wait-listing for kidney transplants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Northern Territory. Cultural safety and improved communication with patients is critical to improving outcomes
for these patients.

This edition of the Australian Health Review is the second themed edition on value-based care and highlights the emerging body of research that is supporting a move from volume to value in the Australian health system.

“An evidence base tailored to the Australian context is critical to the development of health policy and models of care envisaged in the 2020-25 National Health Reform Agreement Addendum and by the Productivity Commission,” says Professor Hall.

Health researchers and leaders from across Australia will meet in Perth in late May 2021 for Australia’s first national value-based health care conference, hosted by the AHHA’s Australian Centre for ValueBased Healthcare (ACVBHC) and the University of Western Australia Continuous Improvement in Care Cancer program.

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks, and community and primary healthcare services.

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