Keeping people well and out of hospital is the main game to improve health system efficiencies

Keeping people well and out of hospital is the main game to improve health system efficiencies

14 November 2013

The era of unreasonable reliance upon the hospital sector for health care is nearly over as the primary health care sector increasingly proves its value to communities across Australia.

At this years National Primary Health Care Conference 2013 at the Gold Coast, over 1000 health care leaders and advocates are meeting for this two day event to thrash out whats working at the frontline and whats making a difference to improve the health care system.

AML Alliance Chair, Dr Arn Sprogis said the value in keeping people well and out of hospital is all about bringing the care back to the community and closer to home.

The recently released report by the National Health Performance Authority Selected potentially avoidable hospitalisations in 201112, shows that improvements can be made system-wide, Dr Sprogis said.

This report showed that in 2011-2012, across the country, over 635,000 people were admitted to hospital for any one of 21 conditions considered potentially avoidable. It also showed that where more of these episodes of care can be shifted back to the primary health care sector, we have the potential to save 9% of hospital bed days, he said.

Improvements are already being made to frontline service delivery through Medicare Locals, which are mapping out and examining the services that are needed locally and finding solutions to the health service needs of local communities.

Medicare Locals are positioned to plan, design and coordinate health services and to shift the balance of care away from the hospital sector so that more people can manage their care or be treated closer to home or in their communities, rather than rely on hospital beds, Dr Sprogis said.

Program highlights Thursday November 14 Day 1:
Identifying local community health needs to enhance population health planning
Helping after hours services better respond to diversity
Our elderly need After Hours care too a new model for supporting residential aged care facilities
Patient emergency access point
My health clinic at home
Transitions of care between acute care and primary care

Program highlights Friday November 15, Day 2:

How joint planning partnerships helped dispel myths about after hours primary care type presentations to public emergency departments
Key drivers of interaction effectiveness between general practice, allied health and hospital providers
National funding reform: achieving success with activity based funding

An overview of some of the work being done through Medicare Locals nationally:

North Coast ML is the lead agency in setting up the Lismore headspace in the first half of 2014

South Eastern Melbourne ML is employing a Refugee Liaison Nurse at Dandenong Hospital Emergency Department to provide After Hours coordination and liaison for refugees and asylum seekers and to improve pathways to and from acute and primary care services

In partnership with Aboriginal Organisation Pangula Mannamurna, Country South SA ML is increasing the uptake of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record and using them as a reference point for mainstream implementation.

Townsville Mackay ML is helping care for the vulnerable through Aged Care, Refugee Health and Community Rehab NQ.

Northern Melbourne ML has been investigating 80,000 hospital visits, as part of ground-breaking research into who uses emergency departments and why.

Northern Sydney ML is teaming up with Cancer Council NSW for the Hepatitis B Positive Program . The goal is to raise awareness of Hepatitis B amongst healthcare providers and also the community, since Chronic Hepatitis B is a silent killer and can lead to liver damage.

Central North West QLD ML has released the recommendations of a mental health service delivery framework for Mount Isa. The framework aims to provide a five to ten year service map for community and hospital based services in the city, to improve integration and ensure the best possible care is available to local patients. The report has been guided by a joint working group of health professionals and service providers

More than 24 000 Gold Coast residents have accessed medical and pharmaceutical after hour services from July 2012-June 2013 which is being delivered through Gold Coast ML, which is now looking to improve services after hours for palliative and mental health patients.

The Bentley-Armadale ML has implemented a community based iron infusion clinic at its premises in Belmont. The Clinic will provide a service closer to the Belmont community thus reducing the waitlists at Royal Perth Hospital. An education component has also been established which will be rolled out to upskill General Practitioners and Pharmacists in the region.

The Western NSW ML Allied Health team has established the Partners In recovery Initiative, which partners with five non-government agencies.

Central Coast ML has developed a Residential Aged Care After Hours GP Support service

Central QLD ML initiated a partnership with the Mt Morgan Hospital to deliver Diabetes Education