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One-stop patient care ‘relieves pressure’

A one-stop-shop patient care model would relieve pressure on Australia’s health system, according to a report commissioned by private health insurer Peoplecare.

Rates of chronic disease and patients suffering more than one complex illness are driving up costs.

The report, by the University of Wollongong’s Graduate School of Medicine, proposes two models to combat this.

The first is a bundled payment system enabling different elements of care for specific chronic diseases to be bought, delivered and billed as a single product or service.

The second is the patient-centred medical home model, which requires changes to the way everyday general practices are run.

This model provides a co-ordinated pathway of care, from first contact through to supplementary care, supported with practice tools such as health information technology.

Each care pathway is reviewed by the GP, and the physician is provided regular progress reports and takes overall responsibility for the welfare of the patient.

Andrew Bonney, who led the review, says it proves patient-centred care can lead to reductions in hospitalisations and emergency department visits, plus improved access to care, better prevention of illness and higher-quality chronic care.

“Our review of different healthcare systems identified a number of key principles that underpin successful cost-effective primary care models, as well as improve patient health indicators and reduce avoidable emergency department usage,” he said.

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