Australia should have a national vision for health that sets out the principles of consumer-centred healthcare.
This was one of the points raised at a round table of about 35 health experts hosted by The George Institute for Global Health and Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF).
CHF chief executive Leanne Wells said Australians should be taking a more decisive and active role in their own healthcare, and added that to achieve this, we need to innovate in the health system and provide consumers with the tools to make that happen. "Consumers must be the makers and shapers of the health system, rather than just the users and choosers," Wells said.
Following the roundtable, the George Institute and CHF released a report, Putting the consumer first: Creating a consumer-centred health system for a 21st Century Australia, detailing the key recommendations.
Professor Vlado Perkovic, executive director of The George Institute, Australia, said: “We believe it’s time to fundamentally change the way we view people who use our healthcare system. Almost 30 per cent of people don’t feel listened to by their GP, and almost a quarter are unhappy with waiting times to see specialists. But our healthcare system is designed to suit the healthcare providers, rather than those who use it."
The report put forward eight key recommendations:
- To develop a National Vision for Australia’s Health 2025 through COAG that describes and commits to setting the principles of consumer-centred healthcare underpinned by regional plans for system improvement and innovation developed by primary health networks and local hospital districts and networks in collaboration with public and private providers and the community.
- Involve consumers in the governance of all levels of healthcare and research.
- Invest in empowering consumers to become more involved in healthcare design and delivery, and self-management of their health.
- Make consumer-centred professional practice a core healthcare professional competency in education to improve skills in working with patients and as part of multidisciplinary teams.
- Ensure that consumer experience drives the health system by routinely measuring patient experiences and outcomes, and making this information publicly available to allow informed decision-making.
- Enable innovation in healthcare while ensuring new approaches are evidence-based, developed collaboratively and fit for purpose.
- Adjust drivers to create the right policy, infrastructure and incentives for change and to support consumer-centred care.
- Develop a change-management strategy to facilitate the implementation of a consumer-centred health system.
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