Partnership to better health

How can patients and clinicians get a better outcome from health care? It’s a question of central importance never more so than now with health care not only continuing to rise in cost, but also in its power to both benefit and sometimes set back patients.

One big solution is enabling patients and clinicians to communicate more effectively.  It’s a component pivotal to continuing health care developments in Australia as part of the Federal Government’s Ten Year Primary Health Plan.

It’s why we are making it the subject of our webinar Patients:Partners in Health Wednesday, 23 September.

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We have been most fortunate to be joined for the webinar by four ideally-suited speakers, each of them exponents in different aspects of enabled patient care.

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Two of our foursome, Associate Professor Larry Baker from Oregon and Professor Michael Greco from Brisbane have worked together in Australia, the UK and in the US teaching about the importance of patient activation, of listening to patients in such a way as to encourage a partnership for the mutual benefit of both patient and clinician. They are joined by another innovative practitioner and advocate of primary health care reform, Adjunct Professor Paresh Dawda.  And importantly, we have health consumer advocate, Linda Beaver, who has been a clinician, an educator, a manager of health education departments and a developer of continuing professional development.

Professors Baker and Greco bring an expanse of joint knowledge on the subject.  They worked with the Co-creating Health programme in the UK which has been aimed to embed self-management support within mainstream health services, equipping individuals and clinicians to work in partnership to achieve better outcomes.

They have been leaders in the development and introduction of patient activation measures which inform and support doctors and other health professionals in tailoring their interactions with patients to match the patient’s level of readiness to be partners in health care.

The Co-Creating Health programme has focused on three equally important factors for individuals to play an active role in managing their own health: giving people with long-term conditions the skills and support to self manage; helping clinicians to develop the skills, knowledge and attitude to support and motivate people with long-term conditions; and changing health systems to encourage and facilitate self-management.

It is these sorts of developments which we think should attract the attention of a government interested in reaping votes and watching costs. Research has shown that supporting people to self-manage their condition improves their quality of life and helps to save costs.

This webinar will provide a timely contribution to changes already happening in primary health care with such developments as telehealth but also to the broader reforms we need as part of the Ten Year Primary Health Plan.

CHF is advocating for a plan of action that includes support for patients be involved in setting their own health care goals.

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About the author

Leanne Wells

Leanne Wells

Chief Executive of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia