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Australia - Widespread Support for Health Reform

Over three-quarters of all Australians support the Australian Government’s historic health reform agenda according to new statistics released on November 24. The Menzies-Nous Australian Health Survey reports that Australians have a very positive view of their own health and are confident they will receive the best quality care.

Australia - The case of national health promotion policy in Australia: where to now?

Australia’s federal government has recently introduced major funding cuts to health promotion and prevention. This paper discusses strategies to move forward within the context of recent disinvestments, such as the abolition of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA), the cessation of activities by the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, and significant cuts to prevention programs for indigenous Australians.

Australia - First-of-its-kind data tool puts Australia’s international health performance in the spotlight

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has built a data tool comparing Australia's health performance with the other 35 member countries of the OECD. The tool shows that Australia performs relatively well across most indicators with scores higher than the OECD average.

Australia – New report provides timely information on Australia’s hospitals

The latest national information on Australia’s hospitals has been released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report, Australian hospital statistics 2009-10, shows hospital admissions increased from 8.1 million to 8.5 million between 2008-09 and 2009-10, with proportionally more growth in private hospitals than public hospitals.

Australia - One in every eight Australians sees a GP at least 12 times a year

This government report provides a picture of use of general practitioner (GP) services in Australia. It shows that one in eight Australians (12.5%) saw a GP at least 12 times in 2012–13. Among very high GP users (over 20 visits), 67% were aged 60 or older. Australians visit a GP five times per year on average.

Australia- Australia’s medical workforce continues to grow

Australia’s medical workforce continues to grow, says a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Between 2008-2012, the number of employed physicians in the country rose by 16% from 68,455 to 79,653. The supply of physicians was not uniform, with more practicing in Australia’s major cities than in remote areas.

Australia - OECD health-care quality indicators for Australia 2011-12

This Australian government report summarizes information supplied to the Health Care Quality Indicators 2012–13 data collection of the OECD. The report compares Australian data with previous years and with other OECD countries. Indicators cover primary care, hospital acute care, mental health care, cancer survival, hospital patient safety and patient experience. Compared to OECD averages, Australia has a higher burden of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and higher readmission rates for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, but also better survival rates for certain cancers and acute myocardial infarction.

Australia - Mapping primary care in Australia

Australia has high quality primary care by international standards, but this report finds that too many Australians continue to lack access because of costs or because they live in rural and remote areas. The report calls for a comprehensive national primary care framework; agreements between the federal government, Australia's states and Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to improve system management; and new funding, payment and organizational arrangements.

Australia – Myhospitals Website: For the first time all Australians will soon be able to view important data about their public hospitals

For the first time all Australians will soon be able to view important data about their public hospitals, thanks to a new Website being developed as part of the Government’s ambitious health reform agenda. The MyHospitals Website will provide clear, comparable and user-friendly information about all Australian public hospitals in all states and territories, except Western Australia.

Australia - More Australians Covered by Private Health Insurance

New figures show that 122,000 Australians have taken out private hospital coverage since the 2012 introduction of income testing for a private health insurance rebate. Means testing ensures that low income Australians no longer subsidize the insurance of higher earners. More than 10.7 million Australians now have hospital coverage, the highest number in 37 years.

Australia - Australia's health 2012

This is the 13th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on health in Australia and provides answers to questions such as: How healthy are Australians? What major milestones affect health over the life course? How can we protect and promote good health? What are the major causes of illness? and much more.

Australia - Australian health expenditure by remoteness: a comparison of rural, regional and city health expenditure

The report looks at selected health services for the financial years 2001-02, 2004-05 and 2006-07 and examines the way these services were delivered across Australia. This analysis was performed using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification System to compare the expenditure and usage rates of the health services by residents of Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote and Very remote areas of Australia.

Australia - 35-Year High in the Number of Australians Covered by Private Hospital Insurance

New figures issued in November 2011 by Australia’s Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) show that more Australians are now covered by private hospital insurance than at any other time in the past 35 years. The Australian government is considering changing its reimbursement policy for private insurance to exclude high earners from rebates.

Australia - Barriers to accessing primary health care: comparing Australian experiences internationally

This study describes Australia’s barriers to primary care compared with experiences from 10 other developed countries. In 2013, 27% of Australian adults experienced difficulties with after-hours access to primary care and 16% went without any health care in the previous year due to affordability and cost concerns. These barriers were more common in Australia than in seven of 10 comparator countries.

Australia - Comprehensive primary health care under neo-liberalism in Australia

Written by public health scholars, this article analyzes the recent implementation of what it terms neo-liberal driven management reforms to Australian primary healthcare (PHC). Documented changes include less comprehensive service coverage and a downgraded focus on community development, advocacy, inter sectorial collaboration and social determinants. The article calls for the restoration of comprehensive PHC as the best way to improve Australians’ care and health.

Australia - Primary Health Networks. Opportunities, Challenges and Recommendations

Australia’s primary health care sector is changing with the end of the existing Medicare Local (ML) system and the introduction of Primary Health Networks (PHNs). This communiqué summarizes opportunities, challenges, recommendations and themes from public forums and discussions about PHNs organized in five cities by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

Australia - Industry champions national telehealth strategy for Australia

The Health Informatics Society of Australia released a first national telehealth strategy. The paper is the work of the Australian National Consultative Committee on e-Health, which represents major ICT industry players and stakeholders.

Australia - Spending on mental health services hits $8 billion

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that $8 billion was spent in 2014 by Australia’s federal and state governments on mental health services, equivalent to $344 per Australian. Government funding for mental health services has increased by 4.7% annually since 2009.

Australia - 25 years of health expenditure in Australia: 1989–90 to 2013–14

Released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), this report charts 25 years of health expenditures in Australia (1989-2014). It shows that expenditures grew from $50.3 billion in 1989–90 to $154.6 billion in 2013-14, increasing over that time from 6.5% to 9.7% of GDP.

Australia - More emergency department patients ‘seen on time’

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) says the proportion of Australian emergency department patients who were seen on time for their urgency (triage) category rose from 70% to 75% between 2009 and 2014. The proportion of patients seen on time varied across Australia’s six states and three territories.

Australia - A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s Future

The Rudd Government recently announced major structural reforms to Australia’s health and hospital system. The Government will deliver better health services and better hospitals by establishing a National Health and Hospitals Network. This new national network will be funded nationally and run locally. These reforms represent the biggest changes to Australia’s health and hospital system since the introduction of Medicare, and one of the most significant reforms to the federation in its history.

Australia - Growth in health spending at 5 year high, driven by government spending

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) finds that Australia’s health spending was at a five-year high in 2017, when it grew by 4.7% compared to an average 3.1% for each previous year since 2012. Australia’s federal and state governments were the main driver of growth, increasing health spending by 6.8%.

Australia - The new Australian Primary Health Networks: how will they integrate public health and primary care?

In 2015, Australia established 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to improve care coordination and effectiveness, particularly in rural and remote areas and for populations at high risk. This study by a trio of researchers contrasts their different perspectives on how the new PHNs can help to integrate public health into the Australian primary healthcare landscape.

Australia - OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Australia 2015. Raising Standards

Published by the OECD, this review provides an overview of Australia’s mixed public and private health sector and the quality of its health services and institutions. It calls for a national approach to raise quality and performance, but says Australia’s health system functions well despite many overlapping jurisdictions that disrupt care funding and continuity.

Australia - GP and practice incentives needed for eHealth records

This February 13, 2012, press release from the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) urges Australia’s government to consider incentive payments to promote the implementation of eHealth records in Australian general practices. According to the AGPN, there is currently little incentive for GPs to adopt eHealth systems.

Australia — The Impact of Private Hospital Insurance on Utilization of Hospital Care in Australia: Evidence from the National Health Survey

The authors of this paper use the 2004-'05 wave of the Australian National Health Survey to estimate the impact of private hospital insurance on the utilization of hospital care services in Australia. Health care consumption is measured by two variables: hospitalization, and the number of nights spent in hospital.

Australia - Using Microeconomic Reform to Deliver Patient-Centered Health Care

COAG health reforms are a first step in improving the funding of the healthcare system but are a long way short of the reforms needed to build a sustainable healthcare system and improve Australians’ health, the Business Council of Australia says. This paper argues for using a microeconomic reform perspective to add to the current health reform debate. Its companion paper, Selected Facts and Statistics on Australia’s Healthcare Sector, contains key financial and resource-related facts about the healthcare sector that have been used to support the arguments made in the report.

Australia - Medical workforce grows

The number of medical practitioners in Australia increased by 13% between 2006 and 2010, while the supply of doctors in remote areas of the country grew by 11.9%, according to a Workforce Report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The AIHW is a government agency that provides information and statistics on Australia's health and social service sectors.

Australia - OECD health-care quality indicators for Australia 2015

This report summarizes information Australia provided to the OECD's Health at a Glance 2015 Report. It compares data supplied by Australia in 2015 with data from previous years and data from the other 33 countries of the OECD. The OECD healthcare quality indicators provide a common set of measures for member states.

Australia - Patient Safety in Primary Health Care. Discussion Paper and Consultation

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is seeking to clarify its understanding of patient safety issues in primary health care, including identifying key priorities and solutions both nationally and internationally that could be applied to the Australian primary health care context. A draft discussion paper on Patient Safety in Primary Health Care has been developed for public consultation. The findings of this consultation process will be used to inform the Commission's consideration of activities it could undertake or support to strengthen patient safety in primary health care in Australia.

Australia - A Model for Australian General Practice - The Australian Person- Centred Medical Home

Released as Australia currently undergoes major healthcare reforms, this paper proposes a sustainable model for general practice (GP) and primary care. The model embeds in primary care the concept of a Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH) that incorporates a GP payment system to align incentives with health care outcomes. The authors recommend a pilot study to test the ability of incentives to achieve expected benefits.

Australia - Mental health services in Australia

Published as downloadable reports since 2011, this latest edition of Mental Health Services in Australia (MHSA) provides the most recent data available on the national response of the health service system to the mental healthcare needs of Australians. MHSA is updated progressively throughout each year as data becomes available. $9.1 billion was spent on mental health in 2016–17. Use of restrictive practices in mental health facilities continues to fall.

Australia - Australia's health 2016

Produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), this annual report profiles Australian health issues for the year 2016 in a collection of feature articles and statistical snapshots covering a range of areas. Articles examine health expenditures, major causes of ill health, determinants of health, prevention and treatment, health through the lifecourse, and health system performance.

Australia - Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants: Adapting models of care to changing demographics

Australia recently introduced nurse practitioner and physician assistant roles in response to changes in use patterns and shortages of workers. This paper from the Australian University of Technology looks at the international history of the two job designations and at growing needs arising from Australia’s changing demographics and aging population.

Australia - Healthcare 2010-11: Comparing performance across Australia

This report to the Council of Australian Governments provides a comparative analysis of the performance of governments at meeting the goals of the National Healthcare Agreement. It finds that despite generally good health outcomes, significant disparities exist between States and Territories, especially in rural and remote areas and among indigenous Australians.

Australia - Funding Indigenous organisations: improving governance performance through innovations in public finance management in remote Australia

Commissioned by the Australian government, this report explores how funding modalities can improve governance performance and service delivery outcomes in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities. The report considers current public finance arrangements, examines domestic and international case studies of different funding modalities, and proposes alternative funding approaches.

Australia - Building a 21st Century Primary Health Care System. Australia's First National Primary Health Care Strategy

This strategy represents the first comprehensive national policy statement for primary health care in Australia. It provides a road map to guide current and future policy and practice in the Australian primary health care sector. The four priorities are: improving access and reducing inequity, better management of chronic conditions, increasing the focus on prevention, improving quality, safety, performance and accountability.

Australia - Significant health gap remains between Australians with disability and those without disability

This report finds that Australians with disability are significantly more likely to report having poor health than those without disability. The report shows that in 2011, 51% of Australians aged 15 to 64 with severe or profound disabilities rated their health as poor or fair, compared with 6% for those without disability.

Australia – Australian Capital Territory: New Primary Health Care Strategy

On December 14, 2011, the government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) introduced a new primary health care strategy in response to the Australian federal government’s ongoing health reforms. The Strategy was developed in consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including primary health care providers, consumers, ACT Government and other organisations and individuals, and identified priority areas. The ACT Medicare Local is now established and working closely with the ACT Government Health Directorate to improve primary health care and help patients and health professionals navigate the system.

Australia - Healthcare in Focus 2014: How does NSW compare?

Prepared by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI), this report compares the performance of the healthcare system in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) with the other six Australian states and 10 countries including Canada. Using patient survey data and 120 performance measures, the report finds that performance in NSW is ahead of other parts of Australia and is in the middle of the pack internationally.

Australia - A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s Future

The Rudd Government recently announced major structural reforms to Australia’s health and hospital system. The Government will deliver better health services and better hospitals by establishing a National Health and Hospitals Network. This new national network will be funded nationally and run locally. These reforms represent the biggest changes to Australia’s health and hospital system since the introduction of Medicare, and one of the most significant reforms to the federation in its history.

Australia - A new way of measuring the performance of the health system

The CEO of Melbourne Medicare Local, Kristin Michaels said recently that a new survey method for measuring the effectiveness of the Australian health system had revealed interesting and challenging results. National research undertaken in June by Crosby/Textor for Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local used a core questionnaire based on the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. The Charter is intended to guarantee Australians that the health system delivers seven key health rights: access, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and comment.

Australia - Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia Report

Just published by Australia Health and Aging, this report studies the effects of the $134 million Rural Workforce Strategy, part of the Australian government’s regional workforce investment scheme for the country’s isolated hinterland.

Australia - New report highlights higher rates of disease and death among Australia’s most disadvantaged

A study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that the likelihood of developing a chronic disease in Australia is related to a person's socioeconomic position, income and education. Social disadvantages in these areas are linked to higher disease rates and poorer outcomes, including a greater chance of dying.

Australia - Australia's welfare 2015

This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides an overview of the wellbeing of Australians in 2015 and combines analytical articles on a variety of welfare issues with short statistical snapshots using a life-course approach. The report covers the workforce, welfare spending and demography, child wellbeing, and diversity and disadvantage.

Australia - Financial incentives and the health workforce

Changes to the remuneration of medical practitioners are currently being considered in Australia. This new paper, published in the Australian Health Review, discusses financial incentives in healthcare markets and their effects on health professionals’ behaviour. The paper focuses on the design of incentive schemes appropriate to Australia.

Australia - Telehealth in primary health care settings within Australia and internationally

This Policy Issue Review from Australia’s Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHC RIS) examines the evidence on telehealth models in Australia, Europe, and North America. It focuses on real-time video consultations involving patients, primary health care providers and specialists.

Australia - Mental health spending hits $9 billion, but retains steady proportion of government health spending

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), spending on mental health-related services in Australia grew to $9 billion in 2016, or about $373 per person, an increase from $354 in 2012. The share of government health spending dedicated to mental health remained stable over the same time period. In 2015–16, State and territory governments covered about 60% of total mental health spending, the Australian Government 35%, and private health insurance funds 5%.

Australia - Access all areas: New solutions for GP shortages in rural Australia

The Grattan Institute in Australia outlines a plan to end the most extreme shortages in parts of rural Australia with the lowest access to GP services. It involves making much better use of pharmacists' skills and enabling physician assistants to provide a greater range of services, including diagnosis.

Australia - Hospital admissions growing steadily, more Australians going private in hospitals

The number of hospital admissions is growing in Australia (up 3.5% per year), and more Australians are using private health insurance. In 2016, 14% of 10.6 million public hospital admissions were covered by private insurance, a 5.5% increase over 2010 rates. Growth in private hospital admissions was slightly ahead of public hospital admissions over the same period.

Australia - Australia's Health 2010

Australia's Health 2010 is the 12th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). It constitutes the nation's premier source of statistics and informed commentary on: determinants of health and keys to prevention; diseases and injury; health’ variation across population groups; health across the life stages; health services, expenditure and workforce; the health sector's performance.

Australia - Spending on mental health services exceeds $8.5 billion

New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that spending on mental health-related services in Australia continues to rise, increasing to over $8.5 billion in 2015, which is $911 million more than in 2011. Australia’s 16 state and territorial governments funded 60% of national mental health spending in 2015.

Australia - New website showcases innovation in Australia’s health workforce

Health Workforce Innovation in Australia is a new website that showcases organisations that are driving workforce reform across the Australian health sector. The site contains hundreds of examples of innovation in five categories: workforce reform, capacity and skills, leadership, workforce planning and policy, funding and regulation. The website is part of the Innovation and Reform Strategic Framework for Action 2011-2015.

Australia - Australian Health Care Reform: Challenges, Opportunities and the Role of PHNs

Australia’s public healthcare system is currently undergoing reforms to introduce Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and widespread use of electronic health records. The reforms will also extend mental health services and change key health system funding measures. This paper explores the reform challenges facing Australia’s healthcare system and examines opportunities related to the introduction of PHNs.

Australia - Health spending growth slowest since the 1980s

This report finds that Australia’s health spending slowed to record low levels in 2013. Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), it shows that Australia spent $147.4 billion on health goods and services, just 1.5% higher than 2012. This is the lowest growth recorded since the 1980s.

Australia - The Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton, MP announced the first Australian Government actions to progress mental health as a key priority area

Australia’s new Health Minister has made mental health a priority and begun a review of mental health services to ensure the effective use of funds and resources. After a change in government following elections in September 2013, Australia has opened youth mental health centres, committed $200 million to dementia research, and begun building an e-mental health platform.

Australia - Australia's health 2018

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released its 16th biennial report on health and health care in Australia. It examines a wide range of contemporary topics in a series of analytical feature articles and short statistical snapshots, and also summarizes the performance of the health system against a set of indicators. Findings are drawn from a wide range of data sources.

Australia - Impact of care coordination on Australia’s mental health service delivery system

This paper, published in the Australian Health Review, explores how the Australian Government’s establishment of the Partners in Recovery (PIR) initiative provides an opportunity for the development of more effective and efficient models of coordinated care for people with severe and persistent mental illness and their families and carers.

Australia - Healthy Communities: Australians’ experiences with primary health care in 2010-11

This report by Australia’s National Health Performance Authority's (NHPA) looks at community-based healthcare services in 61 local areas around the country. It examines how Australians view their health and analyzes patient experiences with local general practitioner services.

Australia - Regionally-based needs assessment in Australian primary health care

This expert review from Australia’s Primary Health Care Research & Information Service looks at international and domestic models that may inform approaches to needs assessment in the Australian primary health care sector. The main purpose of needs assessments in primary health care is to reallocate funds in a more equitable and efficient manner.

Australia - eHealth technologies in primary health care: current strengths and limitations

This analysis of the status of ehealth in Australia, produced by the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service, focuses on the use of eHealth technologies in Australia’s primary health care network. It explores the benefits and limitations of a number of current eHealth tools.

Australia - The Australian Experiment: How Primary Health Care Organizations Supported the Evolution of a Primary Health Care System

Australian primary health care has undergone 20 years of change since the establishment of local Divisions of General Practice. This article from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM) identifies how these organizations have helped the primary care system evolve by supporting national practice accreditation, quality improvement, regional integration, IT adoption, and improved access to care.

Australia - Healthcare in Australia 2012-13: Five years of performance

The COAG Reform Council has released its final report on the National Healthcare Agreement. It shows that Australians have overall good health and enjoy a high quality healthcare system. It notes areas of concern such as obesity and chronic diseases that could put strain on the healthcare system and require attention from governments.

Australia - Spending on health exceeds $120 billion

Over $120 billion was spent on health goods and services in Australia in 2010, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Total health expenditures were $121.4 billion, up $7.9 billion since 2008. Growth in health expenditure as a proportion of GDP continued, reaching 9.4% in 2010.

Australia - Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-2021

Australia’s Medical Research Advisory Board has finalized a five-year strategy to support health and medical research and innovation. The strategy sets out the vision and objectives of the new Medical Research Future Fund, a $20 billion vehicle for investment in research into health and medical infrastructure, capacity, translation and commercialization.

Australia - Barriers and enablers of patient and family centred care in an Australian acute care hospital: Perspectives of health managers

Undertaken in an acute care public hospital in Sydney, Australia, this study explores barriers and enablers affecting patient and family-centred care. The authors interviewed 15 health managers in medicine, nursing, allied health and non-clinical services. Participants agreed that key enablers included leadership focus, supportive formal structures, and positive staff relations. Key barriers were staffing, resource and environmental constraints, along with unsupportive staff attitudes.

Australia - Same-day hospital admissions rising more quickly than overnight admissions

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) says that same-day admissions in Australia are rising at a faster rate than overnight admissions. Between 2008 and 2013, same-day admissions rose by about 3.6% each year, compared with 2.7% for overnight admissions. Admissions rose at comparable rates in private and public hospitals.

Australia - Health Care in Australia: Prescriptions for Improvement

Published by the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR), this collection of essays looks at the country’s health system from the perspective of its stakeholders — patients, practitioners, and institutions. The book is based on annual reports issued by the ACHR.

Australia - Elective surgery waiting times 2015–16: Australian hospital statistics

Recently released statistics show that wait times for elective surgery in Australia’s public hospitals are improving. In 2015-16, 50% of patients were admitted within 37 days, and 90% within 260 days. About 2% of patients waited more than a year for their surgery, compared with 2.7% in 2013-14.

Australia - Quality improvement financial incentives for general practitioners

This policy issue review from the Australian Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) examines financial incentive programs instituted in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada to improve the quality of primary care. In all cases, indicators are employed, though they are accompanied by different obligations and benefits. The authors also find that the literature lacks explicit acknowledgement of whether the outcomes measured were absolute or relative improvements.

Australia - Turnbull Government to ease pressure on private health insurance premiums

Australia’s Government has announced that it will reduce the cost of 2,440 medical devices ranging from pacemakers and lenses to prostheses in order to take pressure off private health insurance premiums for Australians. The action will reduce costs for insurers by a total $500 million over the next six years.

Australia - Ten clinician-driven strategies for maximising value of Australian health care

Published in the Australian Health Review, this study describes 10 strategies developed by an internal medicine physician to improve the value of care. The strategies were developed based on clinical experience and evidence in the literature. They range from discontinuing low-value practices to adopting a more conservative approach near the end of life, to actively involving patients in shared decision-making and self-management. The author believes that only clinicians and their professional associations can enact these strategies for improving value.

Australia - New report reveals out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services

This report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that half of the country’s patients pay a contribution to non-hospital medical services. The proportion of patients with out-of-pocket costs varies considerably across the 31 Primary Health Network areas in Australia’s six states and two territories.

Australia - Physician Assistants report Volume 1 - Final Report

As non-regulated health professionals, Australia’s physician assistants operate within the national healthcare system under local arrangements. This report from Health Workforce Australia examines the role of physician assistants in the context of ongoing workplace reform.

Australia - International trends and initiatives in primary health care

Recent trends in international health system reform have drawn attention to patient-centred approaches, integrated workforce models of care and eHealth. This Australian study identifies international initiatives in these areas and summarizes evaluations of these initiatives. Evidence is presented from countries comparable to Australia in terms of the organization, financing, and delivery of primary care.

Australia - Healthcare: Reform or ration

Produced by the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), this policy document urges changes to the way Australia’s healthcare is funded. The document calls for an end to health system rationing and recommends managed insurance competition, improved generic pharmaceutical pricing and increased funding of health technology research.

Australia - Putting the consumer first: Creating a consumer-centred health system for a 21st Century Australia

A report by Australian consumer groups says the country’s healthcare system needs to be more transparent and accessible in order to put consumers at the centre of decision-making. In the report, a roundtable of 35 health experts calls for a range of changes, including the development of a national strategy setting out the principles of consumer-centred health care.

Australia - Health expenditure Australia 2011-12

The Australian government released its healthcare spending report on September 25, 2013. Health spending represented 9.5% of GDP in 2011-12, up slightly from 9.3% the previous year. The largest component by far was public hospital services, which account for 31.8% of recurrent expenditures.

Australia - Mental health spending rises to $6.9 billion in 2010-11

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), spending on mental health in Australia increased to $6.9 billion in 2010, which is $450 million more than two years before. Over $4.2 billion was spent on specialized mental health services in 2010-11.

Australia - Health Care Lessons from Australia

This paper is the first in a series from the Fraser Institute that examines the way health services are funded and delivered in other nations. The nations profiled all aim to achieve the noble goal of Canada’s health care system: access to high quality care regardless of ability to pay. The first nation studied in this series is Australia, which provides some of the best outcomes among developed nations with universal health care insurance.

Australia - Minister for Health Sussan Ley has launched Check Your Cancer Risk, an interactive online tool to help people understand how lifestyle factors can contribute to their risk of cancer

Australia’s Ministry of Health has launched an interactive online tool to help Australians understand lifestyle cancer risks due to physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking, sun exposure, and weight and diet. The resource, called Check Your Cancer Risk, describes modifiable lifestyle factors and provides recommendations on reducing cancer risk.

Australia - Similar treatment – but costs vary greatly across hospitals

In Australia, the cost of treating patients varies significantly between hospitals, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report shows that some hospitals spend up to $6,400 to deliver ‘average’ services for acute patients that cost as little as $3,300 in other hospitals. Looking at metropolitan hospitals, the authors find that while some hospitals have reduced their average costs of delivering care by between 4% and 9% since 2012, others saw increases of the same order.

Australia - State of Preventive Health 2013 Launched

On July 25, 2013, the Australian government released this comprehensive review of the current health challenges facing Australians in relation to chronic diseases. It highlights efforts underway to reduce risk factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use and overconsumption of alcohol.

Australia - More Health Professionals and Services for Rural Australia

The $179 million investment, announced May 30, 2013, by the Government of Australia, will increase access to maternity and paediatric services, eye health, mental health and support chronic disease management. Organizations in each state and territory will encourage more health professionals to provide outreach health services to rural and remote regions.

Australia - Healthcare 2011-12: Comparing performance across Australia

This fourth report on the National Healthcare Agreement shows that the overall health of Australians and the quality of the healthcare system is improving. Life expectancy is increasing and rates of smoking, low birthweight babies and infant mortality are all improving. However the chronic disease burden is growing, as are costs.

Australia - Australian private hospital admissions rising faster than public hospital admissions

This government report finds that Australian private hospital admissions are rising more quickly than public hospital admissions, even though most admissions are still to public facilities. The report shows that admissions increased by 3.2% on average annually for public hospitals and 4.0% for private hospitals between 2010 and 2015.

Australia - Long Term Care Insurance: A Survey of Providers’ Attitudes

Australia’s National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre conducted surveys and interviews to assess provider views on long-term care insurance that may involve private insurance markets. The authors found both demand and supply side barriers to the development of long-term care insurance in Australia with much depending on government laying the groundwork.

Australia - What primary health care services should residents of rural and remote Australia be able to access? A systematic review of "core" primary health care services

There are significant health status inequalities in Australia between those people living in rural and remote locations and people living in metropolitan centres. In conducting this systematic review, published in BMC Health Services Research, the authors found variability in both the number and nature of core services identified as essential to meet the needs of rural inhabitants.

Australia - New Medicare payment model for chronically-ill patients

As part of Medicare reforms, Australia’s government will adopt recommendations from its clinician-led Primary Health Care Advisory Group (PCHAG) that Australians with multiple chronic conditions be covered by a new bundled primary healthcare payment system. This will include the introduction of upfront payments for GPs who become “Health Care Homes” that provide care coordination.

Australia - The Australian Government releases the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

On July 23, 2013, the Australian Government released an evidence-based policy framework to guide policies and programs to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next decade. It continues efforts begun in 2008 to close the gap in life expectancy and child mortality between these two groups and the broader population. The framework involves additional spending of $12 billion over the next 10 years.

Australia - Value co-creation: a methodology to drive primary health care reform

The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) devotes this issue to a discussion of value co-creation as a methodology to drive Australian primary health care. Nine articles consider the topic from different perspectives, including mental health, the role of consumers, organizational performance, pharmacy structuration, and quality improvement tools and resources.

Australia - Health in Australia: A Quick Guide

Australia’s health system arrangements are a mix of public and private funding involving blurred lines of jurisdictional responsibility, multiple providers, and different regulatory regimes. This guide provides an overview of the country’s complex health system, identifying the role of government and private health insurance, and giving information on funding and outcomes.

Australia - Young doctors encouraged to Go Rural

In Australia, the search is on for the next generation of rural GPs. The Go Rural careers campaign targets medical students and early career doctors. Organized by Rural Health Workforce Australia (RHWA), a non-profit network marketing rural employment to health professionals, the campaign features skills days, regional bus tours and opportunities to meet experienced rural GPs.

Australia - Potentially avoidable hospitalisations in Australia: Causes for hospitalisations and primary health care interventions

Published in July 2012 by Australia’s Primary Health Care Research & Information Service, this review focuses on reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations among patients with common chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD, and dental problems. The review identifies promising programs to reduce these admissions, but notes that reductions are not necessarily associated with improved clinical outcomes.

Australia - $4 Billion Dental Spend on Children, Low Income Adults and the Bush

On August 29, 2012, the Australian Minister of Health announced this new investment in dental care. The Dental Health Reform package is an unprecedented initiative to address increasingly poor oral health amongst Australians – in particular, among low- and middle-income families.

Australia - The impact of Australian healthcare reforms on emergency department time-based process outcomes: An interrupted time series study

In 2011, the Australian government introduced national healthcare reforms aimed at increasing the timeliness and quality of hospital care. This study evaluated the impact of the reforms on emergency department (ED) process outcomes, including patient wait times for treatment and patient ED departures. Findings showed small improvements following the introduction of the national reforms.

Australia - Hospital admissions rise, particularly in public hospitals

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released its report “Australian hospital statistics 2010-11” on April 30, 2012. It shows an increase in admissions to public hospitals of 4.1% and to private hospitals of 3.9%, reversing a five-year trend.

Australia - Health expenditure Australia 2011-12: analysis by sector

Produced by the Australian government, this report analyzes expenditures on health goods and services that include hospitals, primary care, recurrent expenditures and capital expenditures. In 2011-12, a total of $132.4 billion was spent on recurrent health expenditure where 40.4% ($53.5 billion) was spent on hospitals, 38.2% ($50.6 billion) was spent on primary health care and the remaining 21.3% ($28.3 billion) was spent on other areas of health spending. Capital expenditure accounted for a further $7.9 billion bringing the total expenditure on health goods and services in 2011-12 to $140.2 billion.

Australia - Building a Health Workforce for Rural Australia

More doctors, nurses and allied health professionals will be trained and located in rural Australia in an overhaul of clinical training by the federal government. Spearheading the rural health workforce initiative is a new Integrated Rural Training Pipeline that will help to retain medical graduates in rural areas by better coordinating training within regions.

Australia - Controlling costly care: a billion-dollar hospital opportunity

Australia spends $140 billion annually on health care, a figure projected to increase by up to 70% over the next decade. This paper recommends finding cost savings in avoidable public hospital spending, estimated at almost $1 billion in Australia in 2012. The paper says that this challenge must be tackled at both systemic and institutional levels.

Australia - Report on the Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care

Produced by Australia’s House of Representatives, this report by a parliamentary inquiry into the country’s chronic disease management examines the burden of chronic disease in Australia. Current provision of primary healthcare for chronic disease, best practices in prevention, management and treatment, and ways to improve targeted primary care funding are examined. The report makes 42 recommendations and discusses 19 chronic diseases.

Australia - First National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

In November 2012, the Australian National Mental Health Commission released its first National Report Card on Mental Health. A 2010 election commitment of the current Australian government, the annual Report Card forms a central part of the government’s $2.2 billion mental health reform plan.

Australia - New Protection on Costs for People in Aged Care

Australians entering old age homes after July 1, 2014, will benefit from a new law requiring care providers to get approval for charging high fees. Under the new system, providers charging over $50 per day will have to justify their pricing. In related news, Australia’s government announced $480 million in new funding for aged care homes.

Australia – Over 150 potentially low-value health care practices: an Australian study

This study from the Medical Journal of Australia describes a method for scanning a range of sources to identify non-pharmaceutical healthcare services of questionable benefit. The study also provides a list of services that warrant further investigation, a move that will aid prioritization in health technology reassessment initiatives.

Australia - New Aged Care Places Offered as Reform Plan Moves Forward

More than 14,000 new aged care places will be offered across Australia in 2012 and 2013 as part of the government’s $3.7 billion aged care reform plan. Announced in April 2012, the reform plan aims to create a system that provides older Australians with more choice, control and access to services.

Australia - More than $130 billion spent on health in 2010–11

Over $130 billion was spent on health in Australia during 2010–11 according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Spending came to about $130.3 billion, up from $122.5 billion in 2009–10. A $2.2 billion rise in hospital spending was the biggest additional expenditure.

Australia - Cancer spending rising faster than total health spending

This report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that while health spending rose 52% from 2000 to 2009, cancer spending rose 56%. In 2009, around 114,000 Australians were diagnosed with cancer, compared to just over 90,000 in 2001.

Australia - Health expenditure Australia 2014–15

Australia’s government has released a report showing that spending on health in 2014-15 reached $161.6 billion. Although 2.8% higher than spending over 2013-14, the rate of growth is considered relatively low. The share of GDP represented by health also reached 10% for the first time.

Australia - Australia's health 2014

This 14th edition of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report combines analytical feature articles on highly topical health issues with short statistical snapshots of health and illness, the health system, health behaviours and indigenous health.

Australia - New Primary Health Networks to deliver better local care

Australia’s local frontline health services are being reorganized into new Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that begin operations on July 1, 2015. Administered by subcontracted provider organizations, the 31 PHNs will replace the existing Medicare Local system of 61 regions and work with Australian state Local Hospital Networks (LHNs) to ensure better outcomes and service integration.

Australia - Ensuring equity of access to primary health care in rural and remote Australia - what core services should be locally available?

Australians in rural and remote areas often experience poor local access to primary healthcare (PHC) services. This paper sets out to define population thresholds for PHC services that should be provided by resident health workers.

Australia - Efficiency in Health

Issued by Australia’s Productivity Commission, this paper identifies ways to improve the operation of Australia’s healthcare system through small-scale reforms that leave institutional structures alone. The authors find deficiencies in health technology assessment, clinical guideline implementation, provider financial incentives and funding for preventive care. They state that health workforce scopes of practice are limited by current regulations.

Australia - Performance indicators show improvements in Indigenous primary health care service delivery

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows improvements against a range of national key performance indicators for primary health care organizations providing care to Aboriginal Australians. The report shows improvements in 17 of 19 process measures for maternal and child health, preventive health, and chronic disease management.

Australia - Health expenditure Australia 2015–16

In 2015-16, total spending on health in Australia was $170.4 billion, $6 billion (3.6%) higher in real terms than in 2014-15. Public hospital expenditure grew by 8.4%. Due to low economic growth, the share of gross domestic product (GDP) represented by health (10.3%) continued to rise, driven mostly by higher prices.

Australia - Expanding healthcare quality and patient safety reporting across Queensland’s health system

Prepared for the government of the Australian state of Queensland, this paper discusses the benefits of increasing healthcare quality and safety reporting across the state’s health system. Using Australian and international comparators, it provides evidence that expanded reporting will positively affect health outcomes, professional practice, system administration and cost-effectiveness. The paper proposes extending common reporting measures to Queensland's network of private hospitals.

Australia - Health expenditure Australia 2008-09

In 2008-09 , health expenditure in Australia reached $112.8 billion, an increase of $9.2 billion since 2007-08. The area of health expenditure with the largest increase was public hospital services, which accounted for over one-quarter of the total increase in 2008-09.

Australia - The Australian Government is improving access to frontline health services across the country in a snap shot of primary health care reforms

This October 12, 2011 press release from the office of Australia’s Minister for Health and Aging reports that ongoing government health reform has improved access to after-hours services, created more integrated frontline care and boosted health infrastructure across the country.

Australia - Following the funding trail: Financing, nurses and teamwork in Australian General Practice

Across the globe the emphasis on roles and responsibilities of primary care teams is under scrutiny. This paper begins with a review of general practice financing in Australia, and how nurses are currently funded. The authors of the paper then examine the influence of funding structures on the role of the nurse. They set out three dilemmas for policy-makers in this area: lack of an evidence base for incentives, possible untoward impacts on interdisciplinary functioning, and the substitution/enhancement debate.

Australia - Spending on public health up 5.5%

Expenditure on public health in Australia grew by 5.5% in 2008-09 to $2.3 billion, an increase of $120 million on what was spent the previous year, according to a report released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Australia - Share of health spending dedicated to primary health care increasing

The share of health spending in Australia devoted to primary care has increased from 37% to 38.1% over the past five years, according to a report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). It shows that primary care spending is two percentage points lower than current government spending on hospitals (40.3%).

Australia - The Australian Government has released a public discussion paper to help inform future care at home reforms

Health policy reforms in Australia have aimed to give consumers more control over their care and, most recently, their home care. Government prepared a discussion paper and initiated a public consultation earlier this summer that is open for submissions until August 21. Feedback will be used to inform government decisions on an integrated care at home program.

Australia - Chronic diseases in Australia: the case for changing course

While Australia has never had a national chronic disease strategy, chronic diseases are responsible for nine of every 10 deaths in the country. This article calls for the development of an action plan for chronic disease prevention across multiple sectors with a focus on high-risk populations and interventions early in the life course.

Australia - Investing to Save: The economic benefits for Australia of investment in mental health reform

Australia’s Health Ministry outlines ‘win-win’ recommendations for investment in mental health that deliver economic returns to government and the economy while also achieving positive health and social outcomes for people experiencing mental health problems. It recommends workforce and employment support for individuals with mental health issues and calls for significant investments in prevention, early intervention, and mental health promotion.

Australia - Continued slow growth in health spending

This study from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that Australia’s spending on health rose slowly in 2014 after similar low growth the previous year. The study shows that $154.6 billion was spent on health goods and services in 2014, up 3.1% from 2013.

Australia - Elective surgery waiting times 2014–15: Australian hospital statistics

Australia has released hospital statistics on wait times for elective surgery during 2014-15. Of the 700,000 patients admitted to public hospitals from elective surgery waiting lists, 50% were admitted within 35 days; fewer than 2% waited over 12 months for surgery.

Australia - Informing implementation of quality improvement in Australian primary care

While quality improvement initiatives (QI) are difficult to implement in primary care, meso-level structures offer opportunities to implement programs in primary care practices of a given area. This case study looks at the design and implementation of QI programs in the Australian Primary Care Collaborative. It identifies five factors that enable or impede implementation: leadership, organizational culture, funding incentives, data and clinical systems.

Australia - Council of Australian Governments’ Meeting - Conclusions

COAG agreed that national health reform would be a central priority for 2010. COAG discussed the current pressures on Australia’s healthcare system, and emerging pressures including population ageing, health workforce constraints and rising health costs driven by technology and the increasing burden of chronic disease. COAG agreed that long-term health reform was required to deliver better services for patients, more efficient and safer hospitals, more responsive primary healthcare and an increased focus on preventative health.

Australia - A review of the Australian healthcare system: A policy perspective

This article compares Australia’s healthcare system to similar systems internationally in order to highlight major challenges, including resource allocation and improvements to performance and patient outcomes. The article recommends that bureaucratic capacity models be applied to health care to optimize outcomes. It calls for a re-evaluation of current reimbursement methods, along with increased scrutiny of the appropriateness of care.

Australia - E Health to Deliver a Better, More Efficient System

Patient care will be improved and inefficiency in the health system will be cut by new e-health legislation soon to be introduced by the Rudd Government. The first step in creating an e-health system will come into effect in the middle of the year when unique healthcare identifiers are assigned to all health consumers as well as to health professionals and the organizations that provide health care in Australia. The unique healthcare identifiers will be available on a secure system, operated by Medicare Australia.

Australia - Options for Finance in Primary Care in Australia

Austerity policies in Australia are encouraging new finance policy options for primary health care. This article says stakeholders should look beyond payment schemes to financing models focused on outcomes. The article calls for introducing social impact bonds for private investors and says primary networks should adopt financial models based on shared services.

Australia - $110 million additional investment in child and youth mental health

The Australian government has confirmed an additional $110 million in funding to extend and expand 10 existing mental health programs for Australians below the age of 18. The funding will support the identification, assistance and referral of children and adolescents at risk of mental health difficulties and will promote resilience building.

Australia - New report outlines residential aged care funding reform options

This report into aged care funding highlights options to modify Australia’s residential care sector. The report reviews funding mechanisms and focuses on ways to improve delivery, including incorporating external assessments of funding needs. Australia spent a record $18.6 billion on aged care in 2016.

Australia - The use of financial incentives in Australian general practice

Relying on extensive surveys, this study examines the uptake of financial incentive payments by Australian general practitioners (GPs) and identifies those most likely to participate. The study concludes that administrative support appears to be an important predictor of use, indicating that GPs do not always consider it worth their while to claim incentives. Rural GPs claim incentive payments most often.

Australia - Public hospital admissions rising faster than private hospital admissions

This report from Australia’s Institute of Health and Welfare shows that of 11 million admissions to Australian hospitals in 2017, 6.6 million were to public hospitals and 4.4 million to private hospitals. Admissions rose 4.3% in public hospitals versus 3.6% in private.

Australia - Hospitals spending tops $55 billion a year

Spending by Australia’s hospitals topped $55 billion in 2014, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). It shows that $44 billion was spent by the country’s 747 public hospitals, and $11 billion by 612 private hospitals. Hospital expenditures increased by 4.4% over 2013 levels.

Australia - A study of macro-, meso- and micro-barriers and enablers affecting extended scopes of practice: the case of rural nurse practitioners in Australia

In Australia's rural areas, nurse practitioners (NP) take on extra roles to address health service gaps. This study explores the perceptions of 20 rural NPs about the barriers and enablers experienced within their extended scope of practice. Data analysis was guided by a socio-institutional lens combining macro-, meso- and micro-perspectives and focusing on structural factors, community attitudes, and daily routines. Regulatory barriers were the biggest concern.

Australia - An analysis of policy levers used to implement mental health reform in Australia 1992-2012

Australia’s government reformed mental health services four times between 1992 and 2012. This study explores how the reforms were implemented using five policy levers (organization, regulation, community education, finance and payment). It finds that the use of levers changed over time, moving from a prescriptive use of regulation to the monitoring of service standards and consumer outcomes.

Australia - Improving Primary Health Care for All Australians

Primary health care is the part of the health system which Australians use the most. This booklet explains why primary health care is important; why it needs to be improved and what the changes will mean.

Australia - Equitable resourcing of primary health care in remote communities in Australia’s Northern Territory: a pilot study

This study in Australia’s remote Northern Territory sought to identify factors that help to ensure equitable access to high quality primary health care (PHC) even in geographically isolated areas. A direct linear relationship was observed between the total cost of PHC services and population, while cost per capita decreased with increasing population. The findings provide evidence based on real costs to guide funding for remote PHC services.

Australia - Co-payments for health care: what is their real cost?

Australia’s government wants to introduce a $7 co-payment for visiting a general practitioner (GP), along with increases in out-of-pocket charges for medication. This paper on out-of-pocket costs in Australia highlights the economic burden they impose and their impact on healthcare access, outcomes, and system costs. The authors argue that a compulsory co-payment will increase health inequalities and undermine universal access.

Australia — National Health Reform Finalised

The Australian Government has signed off on the final details of national health reforms with all states and territories to secure the future of health in Australia. This historic agreement will deliver the funding public hospitals need, with unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability, less waste and significantly less waiting for patients.

Australia - Second Atlas highlights opportunities for healthcare improvement

This report by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care shows large variations in the provision of common health treatments across Australia. It examines variations in care for hysterectomy, cataract surgery, knee replacement and potentially preventable hospitalizations.

Australia - Most emergency department patients seen on time

A new government report indicates that 74% of Australian emergency department (ED) patients were seen ‘on time’ last year. Almost 100% of resuscitation patients, 79% of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes), and 92% of non-urgent patients (requiring treatment within 2 hours) were seen punctually in Australian EDs in 2014.

Australia - Better Mental Health Care in Australia

On June 17, 2014, the Australian Government announced it is bolstering mental health services, with a $6.5 million initiative to train primary health practitioners in the use of e-mental health therapies and associated technologies. The programme includes a special focus on Aboriginal health workers and on e-mental health platforms to make access to services easier for young people.

Australia - Goverment expenditure on home care rises, report shows

According to the Report on Government Services, Australia's government spent $5.1 billion on home care in the past year, up from $4.5 billion in 2017 and $3.8 billion five years ago. The amount represents about a third of current total aged care expenditures of $18.4 billion. In 2018, almost one million older Australians received home care.

Australia - The plan charting the path for national health reform implementation has been released by Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon

Australia’s Health Reform Implementation Plan was launched September 7. The plan outlines milestones and standards to be met in achieving health reform in hospitals, GP and primary care, aged care, mental health, the workforce, prevention, and eHealth. Australia has committed $66.6 billion to support the reforms.

Australia - What core primary health care services should be available to Australians living in rural and remote communities?

BMC Family Practice published this study on essential health services. The authors conducted a literature review and consulted with relevant experts to reach consensus on an evidence-based list of core primary healthcare services to which all Australians should have access. The highest level of consensus (96.8%) was achieved for care of the sick and injured, maternal and child health and public health/illness prevention.

Australia - New school-based program to support children’s mental health

Australia's government is launching a $98.6 million school-based mental health program to give teachers the tools to help students manage their mental health. The program will be rolled out in 6,000 schools and 2,000 early learning services in 2019. Teachers will have access to extensive online materials on mental health and suicide prevention.

Australia - The Minister for Health has announced an independent review of after-hours primary health care services in Australia

On August 19, 2014, the Minister announced that Dr. Claire Jackson would lead a review of after-hours primary healthcare services. She will provide recommendations to government by October 14, 2014, on appropriate and effective delivery mechanisms to support ongoing after-hours service provision nationally.

Australia - Primary health care reform discussion paper released

Australia’s health ministry has released a paper on ways to better support community-dwelling patients with complex and chronic diseases. Options discussed include enrolling patients under a single provider who coordinates multi-disciplinary care; setting payments for care of chronic disease as a defined package of care; and adopting international best practices.

Australia - Bleeding hearts, profiteers, or both: specialist physician fees in an unregulated market

Based on a population survey linked to administrative records, this study of Australia’s out-of-hospital services market shows that specialist physicians in the unregulated fee-setting environment practice price discrimination on the basis of their patients’ income. Findings indicated that specialists charged low-income patients $26 less than high-income patients for a consultation.

Australia - Can we improve the health system with pay-for-performance?

This Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research Issues brief traces the partial implementation of pay-for-performance models in Australia, looks at experience in other countries and reviews the evidence on, finding mixed results. The author concludes that it is uncertain whether pay-for-performance delivers better value for money and emphasizes that no single measure will improve care, ensure financial sustainability and increase accountability.

Australia - Appointment Zen—Shaping demand and matching capacity

This article, published in Australian Family Physician, describes how general practitioners can, by actively managing the appointment systems, reduce waiting times and delays, improve patient care, improve physician quality of life and improve practice financial viability. It presents a proactive, smarter way to plan and manage a primary care practice.

Australia - Positive Disruption: Healthcare, Ageing & Participation in the Age of Technology

According to this report, Australia is on the cusp of two disruptive transformations: rapid population aging and a technological revolution. In response, the report makes recommendations concerning targeted investments in healthcare technologies to rectify system inefficiencies and outmoded practices. The introduction of information system protocols to mandate interoperability across government is a key recommendation.

Australia - Practical innovation: Closing the social infrastructure gap in health and ageing

This report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) argues that Australia needs a health system model focused on wellbeing as much as illness and a more integrated, preventive and outcomes-focused approach to health care. The report identifies approaches to transform the current health system, improve integration, and implement a facility to fund and support new healthcare partnerships and collaborations.

Australia - Major cities have greatest supply of medical practitioners, while remote areas have greatest supply of nurses and midwives

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released, on September 9, 2014, statistics on the supply of different health professionals in urban and remote areas of the country. While cities have 426 full-time-equivalent medical practitioners per 100,000 people, in remote areas this falls to 257. The number of physicians has remained steady since 2011, while the number of nurses and midwives has increased.

Australia - Hospitals need a system to protect patients from treatments they should not get

This research report finds that many patients in Australia are receiving unnecessary or ineffective treatments because of poor systematic monitoring by hospitals. The report identifies 5 such treatments received by nearly 6,000 patients in 2012.

Australia - New funding arrangements to boost after hours GP Services

Australians are to receive improved access to doctors under a new payment model that encourages general practitioners to treat patients outside of regular business hours. Beginning July 1, 2015, general practices that provide after-hours services will be able to apply for incentives from the new $100 million federal government program.

Australia - NSW Government Commits $120 Million to Integrated Health Care

In Australia, the state government of New South Wales (NSW) is allocating $120 million to provide integrated health care at the community level. The NSW government is committing $30 million annually over the next four years to implement integrated care models in local health districts.

Australia - Unlocking skills in hospitals: better jobs, more care

An Australian report says that enabling less-trained hospital workers to play a bigger role could lighten workloads for doctors and nurses, save hospitals $430 million a year, and fund treatment for an additional 85,000 Australians. Published by the Grattan Institute, the report calls for an end to the “mismatch of skills and jobs” currently putting pressure on hospitals.

Australia - Medical graduates becoming rural doctors: rural background versus extended rural placement

Australia promotes rural physician employment by funding extended placements at rural clinical schools and providing incentives to medical schools to recruit rural students. This study assesses whether these policies are associated with the acceptance of rural internships. The authors found that rural clinical training is more influential than background in the decision to practice in a rural area.

Australia - A new blueprint for mental health services

In November 2015, Australia’s government announced major reforms to its mental health system. The reforms introduce a ‘stepped care’ model in which patients receive varying levels of primary care treatment, along with integrated team care. Other measures include national coordinated services for children and youth, and increased funding for suicide prevention and digital technologies.

Australia - Government Announces Changes to Attract More Doctors to the Bush

Australia’s government is changing workforce classification systems that have discouraged doctors from working outside big cities. New remoteness classifications for health workforce programs will be introduced and computerized systems using up-to-date population data will identify underserved rural and remote areas.

Australia - Public, Private or Both? Analysing Factors Influencing the Labour Supply of Medical Specialists

This discussion paper from the IZA research network investigates the factors influencing the allocation of time between public and private sectors by medical specialists in Australia. The results show that medical specialists respond to changes in earnings by reallocating working hours to the sector with relatively higher earnings, while leaving total working hours unchanged.

Australia - Costs of patient care can be almost twice as high at some hospitals

This report from the Australian National Health Performance Authority reveals significant variations in the cost of average in-patient services provided by major metropolitan hospitals. The average cost of a knee replacement without complications varied from a low of $10,900 to a high of $29,300. This is the first national comparison of hospital costs that accounts for the fact that some hospitals perform more complicated operations or see sicker patients.

Australia - Blueprint for Professional Aged Care Workforce Growth

Australia’s professional aged care workforce is estimated to require one million workers by 2050. This report by the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce sets out a strategy to help the sector shift attitudes to caregiving careers and enhance quality of life for senior citizens.

Australia - HealthPathways is live and ready to transform patient care in western Sydney

In Sydney, Australia, an online health information portal has just been launched. It is designed to change the way general practitioners and other health professionals access information at the point of care. The new website is based on a collaborative model from New Zealand that significantly improved the coordination of patient care.

Australia - Private Health Insurance Consultations

Australia’s government is undertaking consultations to identify how private health insurance can deliver better value for consumers in the country’s mixed public-private healthcare system. The consultations will consider ways to increase the efficiency and enhance the value of private health insurance to consumers and improve the sustainability of the sector.

Australia - Community participation in health service reform: the development of an innovative remote Aboriginal primary health-care service

Conducted in the remote Kimberley region of Australia, this study examines a partnership between a community health organization and an acute care hospital to deliver primary health care to the local Aboriginal population. The study finds that clear goals and responsibilities helped transform the region’s hospital-based provider into a prevention-focused primary care service.

Australia - Over $7.2 billion spent on mental health in 2011–12

Australia’s spending on mental health continues to rise. Over $7.2 billion — or $322 per person — was spent on mental health-related services in 2012, up from $282 per person in 2008. Funding from the federal government increased by an annual rate of 6% over that time period.

Australia - Review of Medicare Locals

Commissioned by Australia’s Health Minister, this review of the primary care units called Medicare Locals considers their structure, function and operation, and provides advice on direction. The review contains a financial assessment, an audit, and 300 stakeholder submissions. Among the main conclusions are that many patients continue to experience fragmented health care that negatively impacts on individual health outcomes and increases health system costs. The growing importance of chronic disease calls for immediate action to reduce the fragmentation of care.

Australia — e-Health Records Blueprint released as National Health Reform continues to deliver

A national blueprint for the development of e-health records ready for their 1 July 2012 launch, helping Australians to better manage their own healthcare, has been released recently. The draft Concept of Operations document describes how the personally controlled electronic health records system will work, its benefits, the structure and the important privacy principles. The release is intended to prompt further discussion on its design and input into areas that require further discussion and development. Feedback on the draft Concept of Operations may be submitted at until 31 May 2011.

Australia - How! Not How Much: Medicare Spending and Health Resource Allocation in Australia

This monograph argues that four key principles should guide the debate about structural health reform: 1. Scarce health resources and subsidised access to health services must be allocated on a needs basis to ensure timely access to essential hospital care. 2. Excessive, universal subsidisation of minor health expenses must cease. 3. Medicare must be de-monopolised and replaced with a soundly constructed competitive insurance system that properly protects people against the risk and high cost of exceptional health events. 4. To promote personal responsibility for health costs, and control usage of health services while avoiding arbitrary rationing, a rational system of insurance deductibles and copayments must apply for non-chronic care and marginal hospital procedures, which can be paid for out of personal ‘health savings’.

Australia – Health Systems and Sustainability: Doctors and Consumers Differ on Threats and Solutions

Healthcare systems face the problem of insufficient resources to meet the needs of ageing populations and increasing demands for access to new treatments. Australian doctors and consumers hold different views on the sustainability of the healthcare system, and a number of key issues relating to costs, cost drivers, roles and responsibilities according to the authors of the study.

Australia - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2017 provides up-to-date information on 68 performance measures of health status and outcomes, determinants of health, and health system performance. The measures cover data that has been collected on the entire Australian health system, including Indigenous-specific services and programs, and mainstream services.

Australia - $585 million to launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme

In Australia, the government of New South Wales has allocated $585 million to the country’s new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). People with disabilities will be allocated individualized funding packages that allow them to pick and choose the supports they need.

Australia - A new national watchdog for Australia’s health system will soon be formed after legislation to establish the National Health Performance Authority passed the Senate recently

Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler welcomed the news and said the National Health Performance Authority is a key part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to provide patients with better information about the performance of public and private hospitals and Medicare Locals through tools like the MyHospitals website.

Australia - Strategic approaches to the development of Australia’s future primary care workforce

Shortages in, and misdistribution of, the primary health care workforce will continue to limit access to health care. The current health reform proposals and policies recognise workforce development as a priority, but only partially address the barriers to improvement. In particular, there will need to be more systematic development of interdisciplinary education within primary health care services, and funding to support this according to the authors of this article.

Australia - Is there a better alternative for Australia’s health system?

This article examines three issues. These are, first, the need for the Rudd government intervention in the health sector; secondly, the reasons why system governance needs major reform despite this intervention; and, thirdly, the broad options for reform.

Australia - Initial impression and response to the recently announced national health reform plan

Given the announcement of the recently proposed health reforms in Australia, the Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management has taken the opportunity to ask key health policy leaders and commentators on their views of the benefits and challenges that such sweeping reforms will bring.

Australia - Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review

This report by an Australian government commission assesses market efficiency and government productivity over the past five years, and reviews specific private and government sectors. In health care, the report recommends national and state governments increase funding for primary health networks to improve population health, manage chronic conditions and reduce hospitalizations.

Australia: Review of Health Technology Assessment in Australia

A new report released recently by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, recommends improvements to the way new health products, procedures and services are assessed for public funding, in line with international best practice.

Australia - Translating the Elements of Health Governance for Integrated Care from Theory to Practice: A Case Study Approach

This Australian case study developed a health governance model for integrated care based on 10 elements linked to healthcare integration. Authors then interviewed participants who held senior governance roles to see if the model’s principles were applicable or already being applied. While all participants agreed the 10 elements were essential to integrated care, most elements were not currently in use.

Australia - New health investments in the 2010–11 Budget

The 2010–11 Budget delivers a further investment of $2.2 billion in the National Health and Hospitals Network over four years. This includes: $772 million to improve access to General Practitioners (GPs) and primary health care; $523 million in training and supporting Australia's nurses; $467 million to modernise the health and hospital system; $400 million to drive efficiency and high performance.

Australia - Release of Roadmap to Reform

The timeline for the further delivery of better health and hospital services was recently released by the Minister for Health and Ageing. The Government’s implementation plan spells out the details as when initiatives such as extra sub-acute beds, more doctors and more nurses will be part of the health system. The plan is carefully structured to ensure that the planned improvements to the health system are delivered to provide better, more connected services for all hard working Australians. The implementation plan clearly shows what is already happening, and the delivery dates for other initiatives. The implementation plan is available online.

International - Using digital technology to design and deliver better mental health services. Perspectives from Australia and the USA

This report explores what the UK might learn from the USA and Australia about using digital technology in mental health services. The authors interviewed 55 mental health technologists in 27 American and Australian organizations. Findings from those interviews are grouped into five themes: rethinking service design and delivery; prevention and self-help; digital phenotyping; support for innovation; and research insights. Eighteen case studies accompany the report.

Australia - The challenge of long waiting lists: how we implemented a GP referral system for non-urgent specialist' appointments at an Australian public hospital

This article describes the trial of a service model to allow patients who have been wait-listed for two years or more, as a non-urgent referral, to be seen at a public hospital specialist outpatient clinic.

Australia - Implementing Health in All Policies: Adelaide 2010

The concepts, examples and practical experiences documented in this volume provide essential learning for moving towards a clearer conceptual framework for Health in All Policies. National and sub-national country case studies shed light on how nations as diverse as Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Norway and Thailand are incrementally working towards better policy integration and governance for social wellbeing and equity.

Australia - Next Steps Taken to Establish Medicare Locals

The Australian Government has taken an important step in establishing a network of primary health care organisations – Medicare Locals – by releasing a discussion paper on their planned roles, functions and governance. Medicare Locals will be responsible for making it easier for patients and service providers to navigate the health care system. The first Medicare Locals (around 15 organisations) are expected to commence operations in mid 2011, with the remainder commencing in mid 2012.

Australia - National standards for mental health services 2010

The Australian government has recently launched new national standards for mental health services. A new document outlines a set of mental health service standards which can be applied to all mental health services, including government, non-government and private sectors across Australia.

Australia - New framework lays the foundation for Indigenous mental health reforms

The Australian government has published a five-year strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing. It sets out a culturally appropriate stepped-care model to guide and support Indigenous mental health policy and act as a resource for policymakers, advocates, service providers, clients, consumers and researchers.

Australia - Release of draft eHealth Legislation

On September 30, 2011, Australia’s Minister for Health and Aging Nicola Roxon released proposed legislation on eHealth records for public consultation. The draft legislation outlines how consumers, healthcare organizations and data repositories will be incorporated into the eHealth system. It also establishes an independent advisory council and institutes a strict security regime to protect patient privacy.

Australia - Is Fly in/Fly out (FIFO) a viable interim solution to address remote medical workforce shortages?

Doctors in Australia’s remote regions remain a scarce resource with only 58 practitioners per 100,000 people. This article from Rural and Remote Health proposes establishing a Fly In/Fly Out (FIFO) model, in which visiting doctors make regular trips to remote communities rather than live in the community full time.

Australia - National cancer screening programs reduce the risk of death from breast, cervical and bowel cancer

This report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that people with cancer detected through national cancer screening programs have much better survival outcomes than patients who were not screened. Screening lowered the risk of dying by 87% in cervical cancer, 42% in breast cancer, and 40% in bowel cancer.

Australia - Vision for the health system in Queensland

The Australian state of Queensland has released a 10-year strategy for the state’s healthcare system based on four key priorities: promoting wellbeing; delivering and connecting healthcare; and pursuing innovation. The strategy calls for developing telehealth models for outpatient care and increasing the availability of consumer electronic health data.

Australia - Evaluation of the GP Super Clinics Program 2007-2008

The Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aging commissioned this report on the data collected in the evaluation of these super clinics, formed as part of the health reforms initiated in 2007. The evaluation addresses the administration of the program, the planning and construction of the 36 super clinics, and the service delivery in the seven clinics that were operational for at least six months before the evaluation.

Australia - $17.69 Million to Boost Health Workforce in Regional and Remote Areas

In October 2012, the Australian Ministry of Health announced an investment of over $17 million to boost the healthcare workforce in rural and remote areas. Nurses and allied health workers will be recruited under a new Rural Health Professionals Program. Eight regional projects will focus on strengthening the roles of rural general practitioners.

Australia - Pay-for-performance programs. Do they improve the quality of primary care?

This article published in Australia Family Physician updates recent evidence about the impact of physician pay-for-performance programs (P4P) on the quality of primary care. After reviewing the evidence, the authors conclude that P4P does not improve health outcomes or health system efficiency.

Australia - Do Financial Incentives Influence GPs' Decisions to Do After-Hours Work? A Discrete Choice Labour Supply Model

Using survey data, this paper analyzes supply of after-hours care by Australian General Practitioners’ (GPs) and the mitigating effects of personal circumstances and earnings structures. The paper finds that while a policy that increases the hourly earnings for AHC is likely to increase participation in AHC, the effect will be relatively small.

Australia - Review of after-hours service models: Learnings for regional, rural and remote communities

Produced by a Primary Health Network (PHN) in the state of Queensland, this review evaluates Australian delivery models of after-hours primary health care, including general practice visits, hospital clinics, and telephone and internet-supported triage models. The review discusses the development of delivery models in rural and remote areas that might address poor public access and workforce insufficiencies.

Australia - Blueprint for better healthcare in Queensland

This report from the Queensland government outlines structural and cultural improvements to establish Queensland as the leader in Australian healthcare in terms of value-for-money, performance and delivery. The report focuses on four principal themes: health services focused on patients and people; empowering the community and health workforce; providing value in health services; and investing, innovating and planning for the future.

Australia - Improving the quality of healthcare: a cross-sectional study of the features of successful clinical networks

This study of 19 clinical networks in the Australian state of New South Wales draws on interviews with 51 managers. The authors investigate factors that make clinical networks effective at improving quality of care and facilitating system-wide change. Three networks were found to have a high impact on quality of care, and seven had a high impact on system-wide change. Network management appear to be a primary contributor to effectiveness.

Australie - eHealth Records Legislation Introduced

On November 23, 2011, the Minister for Health and Ageing introduced legislation regarding the introduction of Australia’s national eHeath records system. From July 1, 2012, Australians will be able to register for an eHealth record, though registration remains optional. Individuals will have control over their health information, including who can access their record and which documents can be viewed. Records can be connected to existing information from Medicare systems.

Australia - A New Ten Year Plan for Mental Health

On January 16, 2012, the Australian Ministry of Mental Health and Ministry of Disability Reform released a Ten-Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform. The Roadmap will provide state governments, workplaces, communities and the health sector with a measurable long-term national reform plan to determine mental health policies and funding over the coming decade.

International - Paying for “End-of-Life” Drugs in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom: Balancing Policy, Pragmatism, and Societal Values

This edition of Issues in International Health Policy analyses British, German, Australian and American policies on the coverage of costly life-extending medicines. For Europe and Australia, the challenge is to pay for medicines through publicly-funded systems without undermining core principles. In the U.S., the goal is to ensure the sustainability of Medicare and the private insurance market without restricting choice.

Australia - Coordinating Mental and Physical Health Care in Rural Australia: An Integrated Model for Primary Care Settings

Based on staff interviews at a small town clinic providing primary healthcare to people using community mental health services, this article examines factors driving successful primary care integration in rural settings. It finds that the necessary processes and structures (including a booking system and team-based approach) evolved locally from supportive professional and organizational relationships. Strong collaborative relationships also led to the upskilling of local staff.

Australia - Corporatisation of general practice - impact and implications

In Australia, general practice is largely private, provided by physicians working individually or in groups. Since 2001, a number of corporate practices have emerged that vary in size, location (urban, rural), and type of services. This review examines the impact of the corporatization of general practice, and its implications for market competition, quality of care, patient outcomes, cost of care, and the healthcare workforce.

Australia - Discrimination in a universal health system: Explaining socioeconomic waiting time gaps

One of the goals of any universal health care system is to eliminate discriminatory access on socioeconomic grounds. Waiting times for treatment should reflect patients’ needs, with priority given to urgent cases. This paper from the University of Technology in Sydney finds evidence that wealthier patients get priority in the Australian system, especially among least urgent cases.

Australia - Queensland Health Reform - A new way forward

In 2011, the government of Queensland, one of Australia’s six states, announced plans to abolish Queensland Health and replace it with new organisational structures. In January, 2012, the Solomon Report and Business Case for Change, written by the national leader of KPMG's health practice, Shane Solomon, was released for consultation so staff, unions and other interested Queenslanders can provide input into the proposed redesign of the way health services are structured and delivered.

Australia - A working guide to international comparisons of health

This guide published by the Australian government highlights the types of questions to ask before comparing health systems in countries and when presenting health data in an international context.

Australia - Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services

This government report on ways to improve the effectiveness of human services (health care, social housing and family and community services) recommends the introduction of greater client choice and competition. It identifies six service areas for reform: end-of-life care, social housing, family/community services, public hospitals, services in remote Indigenous communities, and public dental services. The report seeks feedback from stakeholders.

Australia - Motivation and Competition in Health Care

Non-pecuniary sources of motivation are a strong feature in healthcare sectors, and the impact of competitive incentives may be lower where pecuniary motivation is low. This study examines physician response to changes in competition on prices. It finds that physicians exploit a lack of competition with higher prices only if they have a high marginal utility of income, due to family (i.e. dependent children) or financial (i.e. student debt).

International - Interprofessional teamwork innovations for primary health care practices and practitioners: evidence from a comparison of reform in three countries

Investigating primary care interprofessional teamwork innovations in Australia, Canada and the US, this Australian review examined 12 studies to assess the impact and local context of reforms. Variations were associated with contextual factors such as the size, power dynamics, leadership, and physical environment of the practice. Unintended consequences included conflict between medical and nonmedical professional groups.

International - Transformational change in healthcare: an examination of four case studies

Investigating examples of transformational change in the health care sector, this Australian study focuses on case studies from the US, the UK, and Australia that exemplify well communicated strategies, innovative redesign, extensive consultation, efficient performance management and high-quality leadership. Despite differences between the case studies, the overall characteristics of success were found to be similar.

International - Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care

This Commonwealth Fund report compares health care system performance in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Seventy-two indicators were selected in five domains: Care Process, Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes. The U.S. ranked last on performance overall, and ranked last or near last on the Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes domains. The top-ranked countries overall were the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands.

Australia - What are the reasons for clinical network success? A qualitative study

Clinical networks improve patient outcomes and care processes by implementing projects geared to the needs of local health services. In this study, authors interviewed 10 clinical network chairs on factors influencing network success. It identifies two key ingredients — strategic leadership with strong external stakeholder links; and formal infrastructure and processes to align work plans with health priorities.

Australia - $475 Million More for Regional Health Facilities

On August 25, 2011, the Minister for Health and Ageing announced a next round of funding from the Gillard Government’s $5 billion Health and Hospitals Fund. The $475 million in funding will go towards projects such as new equipment or better buildings for local hospitals, new chronic disease management services and new or expanded mental and dental services. 148 projects are already in place from a previous round of funding. Projects with local community support are a priority. Applications close on October 19, 2011.

Australia - Securing a stable Medical Workforce for Rural NSW Communities

A structured and supported training experience is fundamental to trainees choosing rural and procedural general practice and going on to provide health services in rural communities and hospitals. The New South Wales Department of Health designed this pathway for rural general practice training to encourage increased numbers of medical graduates to choose rural and procedural general practice as their preferred training and career choice. Two training pathways are considered: a procedural GP training program leading to specific qualification and dual hospital/community General Practice terms during the four-year training program.

International - Trends In Life Expectancy In Eu And Other OECD Countries: Why Are Improvements Slowing?

This paper describes life expectancy trends in the European Union (EU) and Norway, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. Life expectancy in the US is below the EU average (81 years), whereas in Australia, Canada and Japan it remains higher. The US is the only country where life expectancy is falling. Slowing improvements in other countries since 2011 are attributed largely to disease and socio-economic inequalities.

Australia — Better Access to Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas

People living in rural and remote communities will benefit from an innovative program that is boosting health and medical services across the nation. $8.5 million has been allocated for 42 projects to make it easier for those living in rural and remote areas to see a doctor or allied health professional closer to home, the Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said.

Australia - National Healthcare Agreement: Performance report for 2009-10

This is the COAG Reform Council’s second year report on the National Healthcare Agreement, reporting progress against the objectives and outcomes compared to the baseline data summarised in the 2008–09 report on performance. The report focus on the following ten issues : prevention, primary and community health, hospital and related care, aged care, patient experience, social inclusion and Indigenous health, sustainability, performance benchmarks, and improvements to the performance reporting framework.

International Profiles of Health Care Systems

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #32 International Profiles of Health Care Systems Summary This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization, quality of care, health disparities, efficiency and integration, use of health information technology, use of evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations. In addition, summary tables provide data on a number of key health system characteristics and performance indicators, including overall health care spending, hospital spending and utilization, health care access, patient safety, care coordination, chronic care management, disease prevention, capacity for quality improvement, and public views. Background The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that promotes a high performance health care system providing better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency. The Fund carries out…

International - Strengthening primary care: recent reforms and achievements in Australia, England and the Netherlands

This paper published by the Commonwealth Fund examines recent primary care reforms in Australia, England and the Netherlands. It details quality improvement strategies, strategies for improving access, mid-level primary care organizations and payment reforms that have contributed to enhancing the quality and accessibility of primary care.

Australia - Evidence for funding, organising and delivering health care services targeting secondary prevention and management of chronic conditions

The aim of this paper is to set out what evidence is available regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of funding, organisation and delivery of services directed at preventing and managing chronic conditions, and identify what further information is required.

UK - How do we compare? - Applying UK pay for performance indicators to an Australian general practice

United Kingdom general practitioners receive payment based on their performance in multiple clinical indicators. Applying UK style pay for performance clinical indicators to an Australian general practice is feasible in a well computerized practice and can identify significant areas for improved clinical care according to the authors of this paper.

The role of information and communication technologies in improving health sector efficiency

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #6 The role of information and communication technologies in improving health sector efficiency Summary This OECD health policy study provides advice on a range of policy options, conditions and practices that policymakers can adapt to their own national circumstances to accelerate adoption and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in health care. It analyses the incentives and institutional mechanisms used to encourage the adoption of these technologies in six OECD countries (Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United States). It presents an analysis of the range of incentives and institutional mechanisms that have been applied to influence introduction and successful adoption of ICTs, examines the results of these initiatives, looks at some of the new technologies in health care and helps identify the challenges in securing cooperation from the different stakeholders involved. Background Policymakers in OECD countries are faced with ever-increasing…

Nurses in advanced roles: a description and evaluation of experiences in 12 developed countries

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #1 Nurses in advanced roles a description and evaluation of experiences in 12 developed countries Summary This health working paper from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs looks at the development of advanced practice nurses in 12 countries Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Japan, Poland, United Kingdom and United States. Many countries are seeking to improve healthcare delivery by reviewing the roles of health professionals, including nurses. Developing new and more advanced roles for nurses could improve access to care in situations of limited or diminishing supply of doctors. The redefinition of roles might also contain costs by delegating some of the tasks currently accomplished by expensive doctors to nurses, especially in primary care. The paper also assesses how the reorganization of work impacts the quality of patient care. Background Advanced nursing roles vary significantly between countries. The…

Australia - A better deal for patients

The Gillard Government will invest a guaranteed extra $19.8 billion in public hospitals – matched by tough national standards to make sure that money goes straight to hospitals and straight to patients. Under the new deal the Federal Government will step up to permanently pay 50 per cent of the growth in hospital costs.

Australia - NSW Health cost and outcomes study by IPART for selected NSW hospitals

The primary objective of this study was to produce a body of information and analysis on costs, clinical practice and outcomes that can be used by clinical experts to promote clinical best practice and efficiency. The study involved comparing the number and type of patients treated, the costs and configurations of care, and the patient outcomes in five NSW principal referral hospitals.

Australia - Financial and externality impacts of high-speed broadband for telehealth

This report, commissioned by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, analyses the potential impacts of telehealth under a National Broadband Network. The report incorporates qualitative discussion of telemedicine for remote consultations, remote home-based monitoring of chronic-disease patients and the aged, and remote training of medical professionals; together with high-level quantitative analysis of their associated costs and benefits.

Europe - The changing national role in health system governance: a case-based study of 11 European countries and Australia

Conducted by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, this study was undertaken to compile background material for the 2012 Swedish Governmental Inquiry on Health Care. Assessments of 11 European countries and Australia focus on changing national roles in health systems, and government efforts to reconfigure responsibilities for health policy, regulation and management.

International - A cross-country study of mis-implementation in public health practice

The mis-implementation (premature termination or inappropriate continuation) of public health programs contributes to the misallocation of public health resources. This study examined the occurrence of mis-implementation in chronic disease prevention interventions in Australia, Brazil, China and the US. It found that decisions about continuing or ending a program were often seen as a function of program popularity and funding availability as opposed to effectiveness.

International - Revisiting out-of-pocket requirements: trends in spending, financial access barriers, and policy in ten high-income countries

Countries rely on out-of-pocket (OOP) health spending to different degrees and also employ varying techniques. The article examines OOP spending in 10 high-income countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US), and analyzes its relationship to access to healthcare services. The study finds a great deal of variation in per capita OOP spending.

A working guide to international comparisons of health

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #41 A working guide to international comparisons of health Summary This guide published by the Australian government highlights the types of questions to ask before comparing health systems in countries or presenting health data in an international context. The guide is intended to encourage users of international health-related data to consider the complexities before comparing countries, and to assist them in interpreting the results of these comparisons. It presents examples to highlight the types of questions to ask when using health data in an international context. Background It is common practice to compare health between countries. Such comparisons provide a broader perspective of health and health care. They enable researchers, policy makers and the general public to see how national experiences of health and health care compare on an international scale. These comparisons often attract much attention from the media, particularly if countries are ranked…

Canada - Measuring and reporting on health system performance in Canada: Opportunities for improvement

The paper highlights the need for governments to set clear policy goals with both measurable health outcomes and supporting health indicators in order to hold health system leaders accountable for performance. The paper provides recommendations to governments, at the same time highlighting innovative practices across Canada and in the United Kingdom and Australia that can provide a way forward.

USA - Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality

This analysis uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other sources to compare health care spending, supply, utilization, prices, and quality in 13 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country.

International - International profiles of health care systems

This publication from the Commonwealth Fund presents overviews of health care systems in nine European countries, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Each overview covers insurance, financing, organization, quality of care, health disparities, efficiency and integration, information technology usage, use of evidence-based practice, cost containment, and reform and innovation. Summary tables provide data on key characteristics and performance indicators.

USA - Financial incentives can undermine motivation and worsen performance

This editorial published in the British Medical Journal warns that pay for performance schemes for health professionals undermine motivation, worsen performance and lead to systemic gaming. The editorial, supported by an analysis of financial incentives by Australia’s Bond University, concludes that many such schemes are based on questionable assumptions.

USA - Adapting Tools from Other Nations to Slow U.S. Prescription Drug Spending

Other countries pay lower prices for brand-name drugs than the U.S. This paper from Policy Analysis looks at methods used by other national health systems that could achieve drug savings in the U.S. The authors focus mainly on British comparative-effectiveness research and Australia’s reference pricing.

International - International Profiles of Health Care Systems, 2013

This publication presents overviews of health systems in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, system organization and governance, healthcare quality and coordination, efficiency and integration, information technology use and evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations.

International – Financing public health expenditures in five federations: Australia, Belgium, Spain, the United States and Switzerland

This project report published by CIRANO aims, through an examination of how public health expenditures are financed in these five federal systems, to contribute to the debate on the financing of the health system.

International - International Profiles of Health Care Systems: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States

This publication from the Commonwealth Fund provides overviews of healthcare systems in 15 countries, giving information on insurance, financing, organization, cost containment, efficiency, quality of care, health disparities, care coordination, and the use of information technology and evidence-based practice. Summary tables provide data on key health system characteristics and performance indicators.

The U.S. Health System in Perspective:A Comparison of Twelve Industrialized Nations

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #26 The U.S. Health System in Perspective A Comparison of Twelve Industrialized Nations Summary This paper analyzes 2010 OECD health data for Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Health care spending in the U.S. towers over the other countries and findings suggest opportunities for cross-national learning to improve health system performance. Background Findings from this cross-national comparison of health care systems can inform public policy, highlight areas where nations could improve, and yield benchmarks for high performance. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annually tracks and reports on more than 1,200 health-system measures across 34 industrialized countries, ranging from population health status and non-medical determinants of health, to health care resources and utilization. Since 1998, The Commonwealth Fund has sponsored an analysis of cross-national health systems based on OECD health data…

International - Sharing the Burden. Could risk-sharing change the way we pay for healthcare?

Risk-sharing is a relatively new concept in the field of healthcare policy. As such, it is subject to confusion and misunderstanding, not only in terms of terminology but also in terms of substance. This paper will examine and compare risk-sharing schemes in the following five countries: Australia, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

International - Nurses in Advanced Roles: A Description and Evaluation of Experiences in 12 Developed Countries

Many countries are seeking to improve health care delivery by reviewing the roles of health professionals, including nurses. Developing new and more advanced roles for nurses could improve access to care in the face of a limited or diminishing supply of doctors. It might also contain costs by delegating tasks away from more expensive doctors. This paper reviews the development of advanced practice nurses in 12 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Japan, Poland, United Kingdom and United States), with a particular focus on their roles in primary care. It also reviews the evaluations of impacts on patient care and cost.

International - International Profiles of Health Care Systems

This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of 13 countries - Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Each country summary provides information on insurance coverage and benefits, health system financing, delivery system organization, quality assurance mechanisms, efforts to improve efficiency and control costs, and recent innovations and reforms.

USA - U.S. Still Not Getting Good Value for Its Health Care Dollars

Despite having the most expensive health care system, the United States ranks last overall compared to six other countries—Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom—on measures of health system performance, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

International - How Health Insurance Design Affects Access to Care and Costs, By Income, In Eleven Countries

This survey examines the insurance-related experiences of adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

International — Description of Alternative Approaches to Measure and Place a Value on Hospital Products in Seven OECD Countries

This paper provides a description of the classification systems used to measure hospital services in selected OECD countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Norway, and the United States. Three classifications are relevant: those on diagnoses; on procedures; and on products. In addition, methods used to measure the cost of hospital services are reviewed.

Did changing primary care delivery models change performance? A population based study using health administrative data

Brief analytical summaries or syntheses #24 Did changing primary care delivery models change performance? A population based study using health administrative data Summary Primary care reform in Ontario started with the introduction of new enrolment models, the two largest of which are Family Health Networks (FHNs), a capitation-based model, and Family Health Groups (FHGs), a blended fee-for-service model. The purpose of this study was to evaluate differences in performance between FHNs and FHGs and to compare performance before and after physicians joined these new primary care groups. Background It has been increasingly recognized that health care systems with a strong primary care component are more efficient and better able to handle current and future health care pressures. This has led to several primary care reform strategies in the U.K., Australia, the U.S. and Canada. Common to all of these reform strategies is a movement away from providing service based on…

USA – Higher Fees Paid to U.S. Physicians Drive Higher Spending for Physician Services Compared to Other Countries

Physician spending per capita in the U.S. is higher than in other countries. Analysts agree that higher fees for physicians increase spending for their services. This study published in Health Affairs compares American prices for physician services with prices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. The study finds that U.S. public and private payers pay higher fees to primary care physicians.

USA - The U.S. Health System in Perspective: A Comparison of Twelve Industrialized Nations

This paper in the July 2011 issue of the Commonwealth Fund publication Issues in International Health Policy analyzes 2010 OECD health data for Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Health care spending in the U.S. towers over the other countries and findings suggest opportunities for cross-national learning to improve health system performance.

International - Providing integrated care for older people with complex needs: lessons from seven international case studies

Synthesizing evidence from case study programs in seven countries (Canada, Australia, Holland, New Zealand, the UK and the US), this British report examines the delivery of integrated health and social care for older people with complex needs. The report identifies 10 lessons for policy-makers and service providers on how to improve care design and coordination.

International - More efforts needed to tackle rising obesity, says OECD

New OECD data and analysis reveal that obesity levels have continued to rise in most countries over the past five years, but more slowly than before. Obesity has been virtually stable in England, Italy, Korea, and the United States but has increased by 2 to 3% in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, Spain, and Switzerland. One in five children is overweight, on average, in OECD countries, but rates are as high as one in three in countries like Greece, Italy, Slovenia and the US.

International - Which country has the world's best healthcare system?

Comparing health outcomes and value for money, this article from the UK’s Guardian newspaper examines health systems in France, Ireland, Sweden, China, USA, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Australia and the UK. It finds that the UK has the best healthcare system overall, but notes that it also has the worst cancer outcomes of any rich country.

International - A New Resource for Exploring Health Care around the World

This website presents profiles of healthcare systems in 18 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, along with Australia. Readers can compare health system organization and insurance, financing, quality, coordination, efficiency, integration, information technology use, evidence-based practice, cost containment and recent reforms and innovations.

International - International profiles of health care systems 2015

This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Each overview covers health insurance, public and private financing, health system organization and governance, health care quality and coordination, disparities, efficiency and integration, use of information technology and evidence-based practice, cost containment, and recent reforms and innovations.

International - How High-Need Patients Experience the Health Care System in Nine Countries

Conducted by a US health foundation, this analysis investigates healthcare use, quality, and experience among high-need patients in nine countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US). It finds that high-need patients use more healthcare than others, and experience more bureaucracy and financial barriers to care. Disparities are particularly pronounced in the US.

International - Public reporting on quality, waiting times and patient experience in 11 high-income countries

This article published in Health Policy maps current approaches to public reporting on waiting times, patient experience and aggregate measures of quality and safety in 11 high-income countries (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States). Using a questionnaire-based survey of key national informants, the authors found that the data most commonly made available to the public are on waiting times for hospital treatment, with Information on patient experience at hospital level also made available in many countries.

International - A systematic review of experiences of advanced practice nursing in general practice

In an effort to understand why advanced practice nurses (APNs) struggle to gain acceptance within healthcare, this Australian systematic review of 20 studies looks at the experience of patients and general practitioners (GPs) with APNs. It finds that GPs and patients continue to have concerns around responsibility, trust and accountability, and that GPs have particular trouble with a lack of clarity around APN scope of practice.

International - Managerial attitudes and perceived barriers regarding evidence-based practice: An international survey

Evidence-based practice (EBP) in mainstream management is still in its infancy. To facilitate uptake, this research surveyed 2,789 management practitioners in Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, the UK and Australia. Findings indicate that most managers have positive attitudes towards EBP, but lack of time and a limited understanding of scientific research are perceived as major barriers to uptake and implementation.

International - Index of Access: A new innovative and dynamic tool for rural health service and workforce planning

This Australian study developed a tool to measure access to primary healthcare in rural areas. The Index of Access captures components of access and uses a floating catchment approach to define service areas and population accessibility levels, which enables the modelling of workforce supply variations. Increases in supply are modelled for a range of rural towns, with access scores informing subsequent health service and workforce planning decisions.

International - International Profiles of Health Care Systems

Produced by the Commonwealth Fund, this publication profiles healthcare systems in 19 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the US). System financing and coverage methods are described and country performance measures are presented along with information on providers and spending.

International - Systematic review of integrated models of health care delivered at the primary–secondary interface: how effective is it and what determines effectiveness?

Conducted in Australia, this review of 10 studies identifies characteristics of integrated primary-secondary care models that help deliver favourable clinical outcomes. Six common elements are identified: interdisciplinary teamwork, information exchange, shared guidelines, training, acceptability for patients, and viable funding. The authors note that integrated primary-secondary care’s actual impact on clinical outcomes is limited compared to usual care.

Canada - Nearly 1 in 5 Patient Visits to Emergency Could Potentially Be Treated Elsewhere

A new study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) identified that about 1 in 5 patients visited the emergency department (ED) for conditions that could be treated in a family practice setting or that are potentially preventable. The study, Sources of Potentially Avoidable Emergency Department Visits, focused on 2 groups of patients: those who use the ED for minor conditions not requiring hospitalization; and seniors who live in long-term care (LTC) residences. With approximately 17 million visits to EDs across the country in 2013–2014, Canadians are among the most frequent users of EDs in the world, compared with countries such as Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

UK - Horizon 2035: International responses to big picture challenges

Published by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence, this report provides short, digestible analysis of international examples that might help to meet big picture challenges facing the health and care workforce challenges in England. Among the areas of interest are the retention of home care workers, the role of informal caregivers, the adoption of technology and the impact of 24/7 services. Changes or planned changes in Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the US are described.

International - International Profiles of Health Care Systems, 2014

This publication presents overviews of the healthcare systems of Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. Each overview covers insurance, financing, organization, care quality, cost containment, efficiency and integration, and use of information technology and evidence-based practice. Data is provided on key health system characteristics and performance indicators.

UK - Focus on: international comparisons of healthcare quality - what can the UK learn?

This study compares British healthcare quality in four sectors (primary care, acute care, cancer care and mental health) with equivalent care in 12 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the US. Analysis reveals that the UK ranks last or second last on 16 of 27 quality indicators used in the study.

International - For-Profit Hospitals and Insurers in Universal Health Care Countries

This paper from the Fraser Institute seeks to correct the perception that private, for-profit institutions are incompatible with universal-access health care. It examines the presence of for-profit hospitals and for-profit health care insurers in the healthcare systems of six nations with universal healthcare systems: Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.

International - The 2015 Quality of Death Index. Ranking palliative care across the world

The 2015 Quality of Death Index, a measure of the quality of palliative care in 80 countries, shows that income levels are a strong indicator of the availability and quality of palliative care, with wealthy countries clustered at the top. The UK, Australia and New Zealand rank first, second and third, while Canada is in 11th place.

International - High performing hospitals: a qualitative systematic review of associated factors and practical strategies for improvement

Conducted by Australian and UK academics, this systematic review examines research methods used to identify high performing hospitals; the factors associated with high performance; and practical strategies for improvement. Assessment of 19 studies revealed four factors associated with high performing hospitals: positive organizational culture, effective leadership, expertise-driven practice, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Fifty-six practical improvement strategies are catalogued.

International - Hospital-based interventions: a systematic review of staff-reported barriers and facilitators to implementation processes

This Australian systematic review of 43 papers highlights key domains that need to be addressed by researchers and clinicians seeking to implement hospital-based, patient-focused interventions. It determines that barriers and facilitators to implementation can be grouped into three main domains: system, staff, and intervention.