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

Consumer perspectives of allied health involvement in a public hospital setting: cross-sectional survey and electronic health record review

Laura Jolliffe https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1369-9442 A B C * , Cylie M. Williams https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0223-9141 D , Natalie Bozyk A , Taya A. Collyer https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8612-1724 C , Kirsten Caspers A and David A. Snowdon https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2041-3120 A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Allied Health, Peninsula Health, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

B School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Department of Occupational Therapy, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

C National Centre for Healthy Ageing, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

D School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Department of Podiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

* Correspondence to: laura.jolliffe@monash.edu

Australian Health Review https://doi.org/10.1071/AH23225
Submitted: 1 November 2023  Accepted: 26 January 2024  Published: 20 February 2024

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.

Abstract

Objective

Consumer-centred care is fundamental to high-quality health care, with allied health professionals playing a pivotal role in hospital settings. Allied health typically operates within standard weekday working-hours. Consumer preferences for receiving allied health services are largely unexplored but could inform whether weekend and/or out-of-hours services are required. This study aims to understand consumer preferences for hospital-based inpatient and outpatient allied health services.

Methods

Using a cross-sectional survey and convenience sampling approach, consumers of a public health service in Melbourne, Australia were surveyed about preferences for allied health service delivery. Electronic health record reviews compared the accuracy of self-reported service delivery times. Descriptive statistics, concordance and predictive values were calculated. Responses to free-text survey items were analysed using content analysis.

Results

Of 120 participants (79% response rate), most (69%) received allied health services, however, almost half of inpatient responders (44%) were unsure of the specific allied health professional involved. Audit results found moderate–high concordance overall (range, 77–96%) between self-reported and audit-identified allied health services by profession. Most inpatient responders had no strong day of week preference, equally selecting weekdays and weekend days, with most preferring services between 8 am and 4 pm. Outpatient responders (81%) preferred a weekday appointment between 8 am and 12 pm or before 8 am (29%) to complete scheduled activities early in the day.

Conclusion

While provision of allied health services during standard working-hours was preferred by most consumers, some inpatient and outpatient consumers are receptive to receiving weekend and out-of-hours services, respectively. Decisions about offering these services should consider operational capacity and research evidence.

Keywords: allied health, consumer preference, health services, health systems, primary health care, service preferences, time preference.

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