Expert Panel - Review of Elective Surgery and Emergency Access Targets under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services: Supplementary Annexure
Section 4: Strategies to Achieve Whole-of-Hospital Redesign
What’s happening to improve elective surgery and emergency access
As discussed in our First Report, whole-of-hospital redesign is seen as the key to meet the National Emergency Access Target and the National Elective Surgery Target. The importance of clinical redesign to achieving sustained improvements in service delivery and patient care over the long term is also outlined in the healthcare literature (see Section 2). O’Connell et al (2008) suggest that clinical redesign, rather than simply creating new infrastructure, often leads to better outcomes in the long term for patients and clinicians; the ‘more beds and more staff’ approach, while allowing more patients to be treated, tends to preserve existing inefficiencies in the system.1 Additionally, clinical redesign allows for sustainability that is not necessarily achieved through infrastructure improvements, particularly in light of the ongoing increase in demand for hospital services.
In the consultation forums undertaken by the Panel, state and territory clinicians and health service managers gave a number of examples of projects undertaken by jurisdictions which have lead to improved outcomes for patients. The case studies below were provided to us by state and territory health departments, and give an overview of clinical redesign approaches that have been implemented.
1. O’Connell, T., Ben-Tovim, D., McCaughan, B., Szwarcbord, M. and McGrath, K., ‘Health services under siege: the case for clinical process redesign’. The Medical Journal of Australia 2008. Vol. 188, No. 6, S9-S13.