‘Support for uptake of the program is key so that Practices are well equipped with the tools and strategies to be successful in the implementation of program initiatives’, said CEO Stuart Gordon.
A key objective of the program is to build the capacity and capability of practice teams to implement the Health Care Home model, which in essence is a ‘change’ program. Director of Healthy Futures Australia Dr Kylie Armstrong who is working with the Western Queensland Health Care Home management team, highlighted that, ‘change is an inevitable feature of primary health care systems, particularly so in Australia where we have seen rapid, and top-down reforms of policies and directions in recent years. Whilst this change has led to uncertainty where we are continually trying to respond to health care demand and cost pressures, we have responded by designing a model that reflects a patient-centred approach by building the structural systems and processes around the needs of the patient. The 10 Foundations of our model provide the pillars for primary care performance and sustainability – a vehicle for change that has the potential to help transform our health care system. To achieve this, WQPHN is providing support mechanisms across all 10 Foundations and helping step practices through the transformation journey’, she said.
WQPHN Executive Manager, Practice Capability and Innovation Rhonda Fleming outlined that, ‘engaged leadership is critical to implementation success including charting the course for change and supporting and sustaining change efforts.’ The initial trial of the six EAPs in Western Queensland have demonstrated transformational leadership by allocating time and resources to training through engaging in full day workshops, enabling protected time for staff to conduct improvement activities and by implementing new technologies.
Practice owner and manager Mr Alex Benn from St George Medical has fully committed to the program and created a work environment to support transformation efforts. ‘The practice is happy to be involved in the EAP Program to test collateral and co-design the WQ HCH. Sustaining staff energy and motivation is key to change efforts and we are working hard to identify and remove barriers to transformation’, Mr Benn said. ‘With our new extension to the practice, we are working with the whole team from reception staff through to our medical and visiting teams to ensure the patient experience is positive and that patient health needs are met. By reviewing patient flow we are able to create spaces and re-visit who does what, so that we can ensure patient access to care best suits our patient’s needs.’
As the EAP draws to a close, preparation is well underway for a staged program roll-out that will commence in July 2019. ‘As an organisation we are also continually adapting and responding to the changing needs of our EAP practices and will continue to evolve as we learn both through informal feedback and from the evaluation how best to support and sustain implementation efforts. Despite having some of the greatest challenges in Western Queensland such as workforce shortages and poor health outcomes, there is no doubt that this change has the potential to transform how services are delivered in the region, which ultimately leads to improved patient experience and better outcomes for individuals, their families and carers’, said Mr Gordon.