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

Exploration of an allied health workforce redesign model: quantifying the work of allied health assistants in a community workforce

Lisa Somerville A F , Annette Davis B , Sarah Milne C D , Desiree Terrill E and Kathleen Philip E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Alfred Health, PO Box 315, Prahran, Vic. 3181, Australia.

B Workforce Innovation, Strategy, Education and Research Unit, Monash Health, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Vic. 3168, Australia. Email: Annette.davis@monashhealth.org

C Physiotherapy, Monash Health, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Vic. 3168, Australia.

D Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Email: sarah.milne@mcri.edu.au

E Department of Health and Human Services, Level 9, 50 Lonsdale Street Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia. Email: Desiree.Terrill@dhhs.vic.gov.au; Kathleen.Phillip@dhhs.vic.gov.au

F Corresponding author. Email: l.somerville@alfred.org.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16266
Submitted: 28 November 2016  Accepted: 3 May 2017   Published online: 25 July 2017

Abstract

The Victorian Assistant Workforce Model (VAWM) enables a systematic approach for the identification and quantification of work that can be delegated from allied health professionals (AHPs) to allied health assistants (AHAs). The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of implementation of VAWM in the community and ambulatory health care setting. Data captured using mixed methods from allied health professionals working across the participating health services enabled the measurement of opportunity for workforce redesign in the community and ambulatory allied health workforce. A total of 1112 AHPs and 135 AHAs from the 27 participating organisations took part in the present study. AHPs identified that 24% of their time was spent undertaking tasks that could safely be delegated to an appropriately qualified and supervised AHA. This equates to 6837 h that could be redirected to advanced and expanded AHP practice roles or expanded patient-centred service models. The VAWM demonstrates potential for more efficient implementation of assistant workforce roles across allied health. Data outputs from implementation of the VAWM are vital in informing strategic planning and sustainability of workforce change. A more efficient and effective workforce promotes service delivery by the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

What is known about this topic? There are currently workforce shortages that are predicted to grow across the allied health workforce. Ensuring that skill mix is optimal is one way to address these shortages. Matching the right task to right worker will also enable improved job satisfaction for both allied health assistants and allied health professionals. Workforce redesign efforts are more effective when there is strong data to support the redesign.

What does this paper add? This paper builds on a previous paper by Somerville et al. with a case study applying the workforce redesign model to a community and ambulatory health care setting. It provides evidence that this workforce redesign model enables data to be collected to identify the opportunity for redesign in the allied health workforce in this clinical setting.

What are the implications for practitioners? There are career pathways and opportunity for growth in the allied health assistant workforce in the community and ambulatory health care setting. These opportunities will need to be coupled with the development of supervision and delegation skills in the allied health professional workforce to ensure that an integrated workforce is built to provide optimal clinical care in the community and ambulatory setting.


References

[1]  Nancarrow S, Roots A, Grace S, Moran AM, Vanniekerk-Lyons K. Implementing large-scale workforce change: learnings from 55 pilot sites of allied health workforce redesign in Queensland, Australia. Hum Resour Health 2013; 11 66
Implementing large-scale workforce change: learnings from 55 pilot sites of allied health workforce redesign in Queensland, Australia.CrossRef |

[2]  Whitford D, Smith T, Newbury J. The South Australian Allied Health Workforce survey: helping to fill the evidence gap in primary health workforce planning. Aust J Primary Health 2012; 18 234–41.
The South Australian Allied Health Workforce survey: helping to fill the evidence gap in primary health workforce planning.CrossRef |

[3]  Australian Government. Australia to 2050: future challenges. 2010. Available at: http://archive.treasury.gov.au/igr/igr2010/report/pdf/IGR_2010.pdf [verified 18 February 2017].

[4]  Duckett S, Breadon P. Unlocking skills in hospitals: better jobs, more care. Grattan Institute; 2014. Available at: http://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/810-unlocking-skills-in-hospitals.pdf [verified 20 November 2016].

[5]  Lin I, Goodale B, Villanueva K, Spitz S. Supporting an emerging workforce: characteristics of rural and remote therapy assistants in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Rural Health 2007; 15 334–9.
Supporting an emerging workforce: characteristics of rural and remote therapy assistants in Western Australia.CrossRef |

[6]  Segal L, Bolton T. Issues facing the future health care workforce: the importance of demand modelling. Aust New Zealand Health Policy 2009; 6 12
Issues facing the future health care workforce: the importance of demand modelling.CrossRef |

[7]  Bohmer RMJ, Imison C. Lessons from England’s health care workforce redesign: no quick fixes. Health Aff 2013; 32 2025–31.
Lessons from England’s health care workforce redesign: no quick fixes.CrossRef |

[8]  Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Victorian Assistant Workforce Model implementation manual. 2015. Available at: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/health-workforce/allied-health-workforce/victorian-assistant-workforce-model/about-this-manual [verified 20 November 2016].

[9]  Australian Health Ministers’ Conference. National health workforce strategic framework. Sydney; 2004. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/C66647AAB9871405CA257BF000209A71/$File/national_strategic_health_workforce_framework.pdf [verified 19 June 2017].

[10]  Stute M, Hurwood A, Hulcombe J, Kuipers P. Defining the role and scope of practice of allied health assistants within Queensland public health services. Aust Health Rev 2013; 37 602–6.
Defining the role and scope of practice of allied health assistants within Queensland public health services.CrossRef |

[11]  Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants. 2013. Available at: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/publications/policiesandguidelines/Supervision%20and%20delegation%20framework%20for%20allied%20health%20assistants [verified 20 November 2016].

[12]  Somerville L, Davis A, Elliott A, Terrill D, Austin N, Phillip K. Building allied health workforce capacity: a strategic approach to workforce innovation. Aust Health Rev 2015; 39 264–70.
Building allied health workforce capacity: a strategic approach to workforce innovation.CrossRef |

[13]  Kotter JP. Leading change. Melbourne: Harvard Business Review Press; 1996.



Export Citation

View Altmetrics