Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Process to establish 11 primary contact allied health pathways in a public health service

Michelle Stute A C , Nicole Moretto A , Maree Raymer A , Merrilyn Banks A , Peter Buttrum A , Sonia Sam A , Marita Bhagwat A and Tracy Comans A B

A Metro North Hospital and Health Service. Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Butterfield Street Herston, Qld 4006, Australia. Email: nicole.moretto@health.qld.gov.au; maree.raymer@health.qld.gov.au; merrilyn.banks@health.qld.gov.au; peter.buttrum@health.qld.gov.au; sonia.sam@health.qld.gov.au; marita.bhagwat@health.qld.gov.au

B Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, The Circuit, Nathan Campus, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia. Email: t.comans@griffith.edu.au

C Corresponding author. Email: michelle.stute@health.qld.gov.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16206
Submitted: 13 September 2016  Accepted: 17 March 2017   Published online: 9 May 2017

Abstract

Objective Faced with longstanding and increasing demand for specialist out-patient appointments that was unable to be met through usual medical consultant led care, Metro North Hospital and Health Service in 2014–15 established 11 allied health primary contact out-patient models of care.

Methods The models involved six different allied health professions and nine specialist out-patient departments.

Results All the allied health models have been endorsed for continuation following demonstration of their contribution to managing demand on specialist out-patient services.

Conclusion This paper describes key features of the allied health primary contact models of care and presents preliminary data including new case throughput, effect on wait times and enablers and challenges for clinic establishment.

What is known about the topic? Allied health clinics have been demonstrated to result in high patient, referrer and consultant satisfaction, and are a cost-effective management strategy for wait list demand. In Queensland, physiotherapy-led orthopaedic clinics have been operating since 2005.

What does this paper add? This paper describes the establishment of 11 allied health primary contact models of care in speciality out-patient areas including Ear, Nose and Throat, Gynaecology, Urology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics and Plastic Surgery, and involving speech pathologists, audiologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and podiatrists as primary contact practitioners. Observations of enablers for and challenges to implementation are presented as key lessons.

What are the implications for practitioners? The new allied health primary contact models of care described in this paper should be considered by health service executives, allied health leaders and specialist out-patient departments as one strategy to address unacceptably long specialist wait lists.


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