Business Improvement Within Healthcare & Aged Care
Australia’s health-care system is a complex web of public and private providers, settings, participants and supporting mechanisms. Health providers include medical practitioners, nurses, allied and other health professionals, hospitals, clinics and government and non-government agencies. These providers deliver a complete range of services across many levels, from public health and preventive services in the community, to primary health care, emergency health services, hospital-based treatment, and rehabilitation and palliative care.
We work closely with both the Public sector health services through the 3 levels of government and the Private sector health service providers to drive efficiency across their diverse range of services. Through best practise business process re-engineering, the pragmatic use of toolsets such as Lean Six Sigma and a deep understanding of Business & Technology Change, we drive significant cost and efficiency gains across all types of healthcare from hospital to aged care facilities and everything in between.
Primary & Secondary Care
Residential Aged Care
Our contact with the health system almost always begins at birth and, for most of us, continues frequently throughout our lives. These interactions can range from conducting simple over-the- counter transactions at a pharmacy to seeking treatment for complex and sometimes chronic illnesses. And while some of us have more interactions with health practitioners than others, even people who rarely visit a doctor or who have never been admitted to hospital are exposed to elements of the health system almost daily, including through health promotion messages or community health campaigns in the media. The different types of health care are described below:
Primary Health Care
In Australia, primary health care is typically a person’s first point of contact with the health system and is most often provided outside the hospital system. A person does not routinely need a referral for this level of care, which includes services provided by general medical and dental practitioners, nurses, Indigenous health workers, pharmacists and other allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, dietitians and chiropractors.
Primary health care is delivered in a variety of settings, including general practices, Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services, community health centres and allied health services, as well as within the community, and may incorporate activities such as public health promotion and prevention. Primary health care accounts for almost as much health spending as hospital services.
The primary health-care system does not operate in isolation. It is part of a larger system involving other services and sectors, and so can be considered as the gateway to the wider health system. Through assessment and referral, individuals are directed from one primary care service to another, and from primary services into secondary and other health services, and back again.
Secondary care is medical care provided by a specialist or facility upon referral by a primary care physician. It includes services provided by hospitals and specialist medical practices.
In Australia, hospital services are provided by both public and private hospitals. Hospital emergency departments are a critical component of hospitals and the health system. They provide care for patients who have an urgent need for medical or surgical care, and in some cases also provide care for patients returning for further care, or patients waiting to be admitted.
In Australia, the aged care system offers a range of care options to meet the different care needs of each individual. Two mainstream care options are available for older people: residential aged care and community-based aged care.
Often people first enter the aged care system through community-based care, before eventually progressing to permanent residential care. Respite care in a residential aged care facility can also be a step along the way to permanent care.
Residential aged care provides care within a supported accommodation setting for those whose care needs can no longer be met within their own homes. There are two types of care offered in residential aged care facilities:
- Permanent care offers ongoing care in a residential aged care facility, tailored to an individual’s needs. While permanent care was previously offered at two levels—low and high care—this distinction was removed from 1 July 2014.
- Respite care offers temporary, short-term care in a residential aged care facility to support both older people and their carers to live at home for as long as possible. Unlike permanent care, respite care continues to be offered as either low care or high care.
Emerging Models of Care
The development of new models of care, such as nurse-led walk-in clinics and day surgical procedures being performed in consultants’ rooms, is shifting the boundaries between what traditionally would have been hospital-based care and care delivered by other health professionals.
Innovations such as personally controlled electronic health (e-health) records and telehealth also offer the prospect of improved communication and access to services. An e-health record allows patients and their doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers to view and share the patient’s health information, if the person has given prior consent. This information can include a summary of medications, hospital discharge records, allergies and immunisations.
Telehealth services use communication technologies, such as video-conferencing, to deliver health services and transmit health information. Telehealth technology can improve access to services for people living in regional, rural and remote areas. Patients who previously had to travel to the nearest major city to see a specialist can instead use video-conferencing, which might be offered at their local GP or another local health-care venue.
The use of e-health technologies to self-monitor health is emerging as a key dimension in contemporary health care. A United States study found that 69% of United States adults monitored a health indicator such as weight, diet or exercise, and that 20% used technology such as mobile phone applications or websites to do so. Digital platforms such as these can incorporate functions such as sensing and geospatial tracking to provide tailored feedback and enhance the ability for accurate assessment.
Patients can also now use devices such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitors in their own homes to track and manage their health status and potential health risks.
Across Healthcare we offer a complete range of consulting, resourcing and capability uplift solutions.
Changes in demography and disease patterns and models of care as populations age, and the burden of chronic illness grows
Increasing costs of care, while in a fiscally constrained environment, and the need to ensure that there are comprehensive, efficient and transparent processes for assessing health solutions. Political and economic pressure on an under-pressure public health care environment.
Constraints on health workforce supply and distribution of the right clinical resources at the right levels. Need is outstripping supply in many cases.
A shift towards consumer-pays funding and a dramatic refocussing on profitability, efficiency and cost-to-serve in the context of an emerging competitive marketplace populated with for-profit providers and new distribution models.
Increased need and demand for Health technology & digital advances, and the adoption of new platforms designed to improve reach and service quality while reducing costs. Innovation and new models advancing rapidly in a marketplace led by consumer preference.