Primary Health Networks: Suporting PHNs to deliver better health outcomes for their communities
PHNs are at the forefront of Australia’s efforts to build integrated, client-centred care in communities. They are leading improved coordination of patient care across general practice, allied health and community services. They are relentlessly seeking improved outcomes, especially for people at higher risk of poor health outcomes.
SVA Consulting has worked across Australia supporting PHNs to plan and assess their service design and delivery in response to these challenges. Below are three examples from the Northern Territory, North Coast, and Murray PHNs.
Northern Territory PHN: Evaluation
We worked with the Northern Territory PHN to evaluate a trial of after-hours primary health services in Katherine, including a telehealth service and extended pharmacy opening hours. The 12-month trial aimed to increase access to primary health services and reduce preventable presentations at the hospital emergency department. In our evaluation, SVA Consulting:
- used process and summative components to understand the impact of the two services,
- analysed a large data set, including implementation records, service usage data, customer surveys and established referral pathways data, and
- undertook consultation in Katherine, engaging stakeholders from across the health and community services sector, and a range of residents.
Northern Territory PHN now has practical insights to improve after hours care.
North Coast PHN: Place-based collaboration, governance & workforce development
SVA Consulting was engaged by North Coast PHN in NSW to help design a disaster response hub. Sparked by an extreme bush fire season, followed by flooding, the hub will allow for a more coordinated response to other public health emergencies as well, by creating a mechanism for collaboration with two Local Health Districts. North Coast PHN also engaged us to design a health workforce continuing professional development (CPD) program, to ensure that GPs, allied health workers and other health personnel receive on-going training that enhances coordinated care in the community. In providing this support, SVA Consulting:
- consulted widely with health and community personnel about their insights and preferences,
- reviewed evidence of good practice nationally and internationally, and
- focused on outcomes and those activities most likely to contribute to desired results.
Each of these projects allowed North Coast PHN to create clearer and more collaborative governance arrangements for critical operational activities.
Murray PHN: Co-design
We supported the Murray PHN in Victoria to improve their support for people living with chronic disease by co-designing integrated care and referral pathways. We undertook research and then facilitated training sessions with Murray PHN on:
- co-design and its principles,
- appropriate uses of co-design,
- how it can be used, and
- frameworks to help apply a co-design approach involving people living with chronic disease and health care workers.
Murray PHN is now able to assess the uses of co-design in programming integrated care.