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Integration model breaks healthcare silos

May 03, 2013

High risk health patients living in Counties Manukau will be better cared for under a new integrated health care programme launched recently.
The Localities programme is aimed at providing specialised and better care in the community to avoid sending patients to hospital.

Clinicians, specialists, general practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, pharmacists and social services will come together under one model to deliver integrated services to patients in their own community.

Cranleigh director Andy Reid, who led the Cranleigh Health team’s work around the new model for the Ministry of Health and Counties Manukau District Health Board, says demographics and an aging population are forcing DHBs to look at ways people can receive better treatment in their own locality.

“The demand for hospital care is growing exponentially and DHBs are running out of money and the ability to provide services.“

Cranleigh manger Patrick Mahoney says the Ministry recognises the delivery and utilisation of secondary services, particularly in hospitals, is unsustainable, but community services are fragmented.
“In highly deprived areas patients often have housing, education and social issues as well as health problems and there can be several vehicles carrying health workers in a patients’ driveway at varying times.
“Better co-ordination of care for patients in this situation can reduce admissions to hospital and save money at the secondary care level.”

Reid says the question has been around the infrastructure to put in place to achieve this.
“In most people’s minds a one-stop shop is required, but interestingly in Franklin, the first locality Cranleigh modelled, there are more than enough facilities and the focus is on better co-ordination.
“How it will work in different localities depends on the geographical spread and level of resources.”

A major plank in the Localities model is hospital clinicians spending time at health centres treating patients alongside GPs rather than seeing them at the hospital.
“This integrated approach to care allows the sharing of specialist knowledge and up-skilling of GPs and the primary sector,” says Reid.
“DHBs will need to invest money into the new model and it will require some risk, but health centres can be incentivised to do more.”


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