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How to Take Integrated Care Forward in Australia

How to Take Integrated Care Forward in Australia

A core objective of IFIC Australia is to help support the effective implementation of integrated care in policy and practice. The IFIC Australia initiative reflects the growing focus at State and Federal level on person-centred integrated care as a means to promote better value in the way health and care services are delivered. In August 2017, for example, the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission produced a report advocating for such an approach. In so doing, it raised a number of critical implementation challenges including: the lack of a truly person-centred model of care; the ability to stimulate innovation and change; the need for new incentives to support whole-system thinking; the reform to existing financial flows; and focusing in on integrated care as a means to promote quality, including investment in prevention and digital health.

Over the next year, IFIC is inviting commentaries on How to Take Integrated Care Forward in Australia from a range of different perspectives.

To start this series, we hear the thoughts of Professor David Perkins from the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health at the University of Newcastle who reflects on the Australian Productivity Commission Report: “Shifting The Dial”. The report addresses the complacency in the Australian health care system with a fairly blunt assessment of the current state of affairs.

Progress towards integrated care requires regional flexibility to meet local needs. Progress has been patchy but Local Health Networks and Primary Health Networks are making some progress. The journey is far from complete and the destination is not widely accepted.

Professor David Perkins
Director and Professor of Rural Health Research
Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health
The University of Newcastle (UON)

The second in our series also looks at the Australian Productivity Commission Report where Professor Peter McGeorge, Chair, IFIC Australia looks at the extinct to which the report provides a useful information for advancing integrated mental health care in Australia.

Critically the paper has a regional focus for integration whereas equally if not more important for mental health consumers are the interorganisational and individual aspects of the service delivery system including the part that they themselves may play in it.”

Professor Peter McGeorge
IFIC Australia

The third in our series Dr Harry Pope a Fellow of the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) reflects on healthcare in Australia through a GP’s perspective.

Life expectancy in Australia has increased mainly due to the number of reduced deaths in early life. Australians now die of chronic disease in the elderly. The over 65 health expenditure is four times higher than for younger people.

Dr Harry Pope
International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)

The fourth in our series Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine from Health Justice Australia talks about Directions for Integrated Care in Australia.

Our health system has become very good at recognising the underlying causes of poor health, like mouldy housing; or the stressors that exacerbate anxiety. But it doesn’t necessarily have the tools to fix those problems.”

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine
Health Justice Australia

The fifth in our series Dr Nick Goodwin from the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) talks about Taking Integrated Care Forward in the Asia-Pacific Region.

For me, there is clearly enough evidence from around the world to ‘beat the drum’ in favour of integrated care and how it can transform care delivery, but we should also look more openly into the many problems and failures of integrated care projects where learning is arguably more importantly made.

Dr Nick Goodwin
International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)