In a recent letter published in the Australian Health Review, Donna Markham, the general Manager of Allied Health points out that allied health workers are in an ideal position to lead the reform necessary for the health care system of the future. Why is this the case?
Firstly, she says, the allied health workforce is renowned for providing holistic person-centred care. This is a key element of new organizational models of health care delivery that sees the patient at the centre of integrated, comprehensive care. Furthermore, allied health workers have acknowledged strengths in disease prevention, health promotion, andrehabilitation. These are attributes that can significantly impact patient care and decrease health care costs. Markham sees these strengths as an opportunity to shift the focus for reform away from the acute setting and into the community to develop a more sustainable health care system.
Health care reform also depends on reshaping the workforce to be more effective, efficient and accessible. Allied health is in a position to lead in this area as well due to its recent experience with the introduction of allied health assistant roles to fulfil the unmet need for assistants across different allied health disciplines. Advanced practice roles have also been introduced that support the delegation of tasks from nursing and medical colleagues.
Australia’s population is increasing, getting older, living longer, and suffering more fromchronic disease. The demands placed on the health care system urges reform, and to quoteMarkham, “ allied health is in the front seat to lead the changes that the health system is screaming out for”.
D Markham, ‘Allied health: leaders in health care reform.’ Australian Health Review 2015;39: 248.
Article taken from HITH Journal Club, Issue No. 21 October 2015