More effort needed to fix the gaps in health care
To relieve the mounting pressure on health services, the divide between hospitals and community health services must be fixed, according to a Research Brief published today by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
“Government policy is to work as ‘one team’ but very little is being done to act on it,” says ASMS Senior Researcher and Policy Advisor Lyndon Keene.
“Canterbury District Health Board has developed a world-leading model to integrate hospital and community services with promising results. But endeavours to extend it to other DHBs have been stymied by lack of funding and hospital specialist shortages.”
The Research Brief identifies and examines the hallmarks of successful integrated care initiatives, where different parts of the health system work together to make better use of resources and improve clinical outcomes.
“This has become a more urgent project because of growing demands on the system and the increasing complexity of people’s health needs.
“When properly implemented, integration can improve health quality and effectiveness and reduce hospital admissions,” Mr Keene says.
He says the most successful examples come from the “bottom up”, meaning they are initiated by those who work with patients and have good ideas about what will work.
Where such projects fail, it’s usually because of a lack of long-term investment, unrealistic expectations, staff shortages, or inadequate communication and systems.
The Research Brief is available online at: https://www.asms.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Research-Brief-on-integrated-care_172441.2.pdf