Shifting Gears for Consumer Health

Advances in health care are driving the demand for more effective recognition of patient and consumer-driven health policies for individually-focused services in Australia.

This is the finding of a white paper, Shifting Gears – Consumers Transforming Health, released by the Consumers Health Forum of Australia today [Monday 26 November].

The paper on future directions has been developed with input from over twenty well-placed advisers to mark over three decades of advocacy by CHF on behalf of consumers and national patient organisations.

Shifting Gears sets out the transformational changes needed to deliver a person-centred health care system and a program for training and developing health consumer leaders in a range of roles which would foster more dynamic and responsive health care.

The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, says the unprecedented advances in medical knowledge, technology digitalisation, genomics and consumer expectations are driving changes fuelling greater consumer choice and influence.

“The Consumers Health Forum has worked to bring consumer insights to national health policy for over thirty years. Despite all that CHF and others involved in consumers shaping health have  achieved, there is still a way to go for the role of consumer advocate to be truly valued, and for the system to be truly person-centred. 

“A person-centred health system requires important shifts in policy. These include from illness to wellness to renew focus and investment in  preventative health and integrated primary care in the community.

“We also need to see a shift from low to high value care which involves making smarter use of health care budgets, stripping out waste, spending less on low-value interventions and more on effective health activities.

“Shifting from provider-centric to consumer-centric services will drive better patient outcomes, as will locally-responsive services”.

Shifting Gears also proposes eight key roles for consumers. The role of the consumer advocate is not one-dimensional. They can serve as change agents, policy influencers, educators, research collaborators and community mobilisers.

“There is no more important investment than equipping the consumers of our health system with the means to use their knowledge and experience to drive improvement and innovation in health care,” Ms Wells said.





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Mark Metherell
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