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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 38(3)

Can monitoring consumer requests for opioid-replacement therapy improve access to treatment?

Warren Harlow A B E, Brenda Happell A C, Graeme Browne D and Matthew Browne A

A Central Queensland University Australia, Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Building 5, Bruce Highway Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia. Email: b.happell@cqu.edu.au, m.browne@cqu.edu.au
B Queensland Health Gold Coast Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Services, 2019 Gold Coast Highway, Miami, Qld 4220, Australia.
C School of Nursing and Midwifery, Building 5, Bruce Highway Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.
D University of Newcastle Port Macquarie, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. Email: graeme.browne@newcastle.edu.au
E Corresponding author. Email: warren_harlow@health.qld.gov.au

Australian Health Review 38(3) 312-317 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH13212
Submitted: 1 November 2013  Accepted: 28 January 2014   Published: 8 May 2014

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Objective This study examined data recorded by one urban publicly funded opioid-replacement therapy clinic (from 2009 to 2011) to identify whether these data could be used to inform the rostering of clinicians more effectively to improve access to treatment.

Methods Data analysis incorporated descriptive and inferential methods.

Results There were trends in the times of the year consumers seek opioid-replacement therapy, similarity and differences between gender requests for treatment and variation in consumer wait time on triage.

Conclusions National reporting of opioid-replacement therapy triages would help gain a better understanding of the number of people in need of treatment. If opioid-replacement therapy providers monitored consumer triages, they could roster more effectively, have gender-specific clinicians available, acknowledge and inform consumers of wait time on triage and allow re-orientation of services to lower wait time.

What is known about the topic? National and state policies on opioid-replacement therapy provide limited guidance on the management of people waiting for treatment with no national triage system established. People wait for treatment, and how they are managed is largely unknown.

What does this paper add? This paper considers the process of monitoring people accessing opioid-replacement therapy treatment services to explore whether this can assist with processing people into treatment.

What are the implications for practitioners? This approach may assist practitioners to treat additional people by improving their resource management by spreading the consumer load evenly throughout the year and enabling the rostering of additional staff during recognised peak periods.

Additional keywords: management, wait time.


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