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

Allied health: integral to transforming health

Lucylynn Lizarondo A C , Catherine Turnbull B , Tracey Kroon B , Karen Grimmer A , Alison Bell A , Saravana Kumar A , Maureen McEvoy A , Steve Milanese A , Mary Russell A , Lorraine Sheppard A , Julie Walters A and Louise Wiles A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE), P4–18 City East Campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email: karen.grimmer@unisa.edu.au; Alison.Bell@unisa.edu.au; Saravana.Kumar@unisa.edu.au; Maureen.McEvoy@unisa.edu.au; steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au; Mary.Russell@unisa.edu.au; lorraine.sheppard@unisa.edu.au; julie.walters@unisa.edu.au; Louise.Wiles@unisa.edu.au

B Allied & Scientific Health Office (ASHO), SA Health, Level 5, 11 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: catherine.turnbull@health.sa.gov.au; Tracey.Kroon2@health.sa.gov.au

C Corresponding author. Email: lucylynn.lizarondo@adelaide.edu.au

Australian Health Review 40(2) 194-204 https://doi.org/10.1071/AH15044
Submitted: 13 March 2015  Accepted: 26 May 2015   Published: 27 July 2015

Abstract

Objective South Australia is taking an innovative step in transforming the way its healthcare is organised and delivered to better manage current and future demands on the health system. In an environment of transforming health services, there are clear opportunities for allied health to assist in determining solutions to various healthcare challenges. A recent opinion piece proposed 10 clinician-driven strategies to assist in maximising value and sustainability of healthcare in Australia. The present study aimed to seek the perspectives of allied health clinicians, educators, researchers, policy makers and managers on these strategies and their relevance to allied health.

Methods A survey of allied health practitioners was undertaken to capture their perspectives on the 10 clinician-driven strategies for maximising value and sustainability of healthcare in Australia. Survey findings were then layered with evidence from the literature.

Results Highly relevant across allied health are the strategies of discontinuation of low value practices, targeting clinical interventions to those getting greatest benefit, active involvement of patients in shared decision making and self-management and advocating for integrated systems of care.

Conclusions Allied health professionals have been involved in the South Australian healthcare system for a prolonged period, but their services are poorly recognised, often overlooked and not greatly supported in existing traditional practices. The results of the present study highlight ways in which healthcare services can implement strategies not only to improve the quality of patient outcomes, but also to offer innovative solutions for future, sustainable healthcare. The findings call for concerted efforts to increase the utilisation of allied health services to ensure the ‘maximum value for spend’ of the increasingly scarce health dollar.

What is known about the topic? In medicine, clinician-driven strategies have been proposed to minimise inappropriate and costly care and maximise highly appropriate and less expensive care. These strategies were developed based on clinical experiences and with supporting evidence from scientific studies.

What does this paper add? Major changes to the health system are required to slow down the growth in healthcare expenditure. This paper describes opportunities in which allied health practitioners can implement similar strategies not only to improve the quality of patient outcomes, but also to offer cost-effective solutions for a sustainable healthcare.

What are the implications for practitioners? Allied health practitioners can provide solutions to healthcare challenges and assist in the transformation of healthcare in Australia. However, for this to happen, there should be concerted efforts to increase recognition of and support for the use of allied health services.


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