Queensland sets up $35m integrated care fund

The Queensland government has launched a $35 million innovation fund to support integrated care projects with the aim of providing more targeted services to patients.

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said hospital and health services would compete for funding based on how innovative their ideas were, how well they supported partnerships and their potential to make a significant difference to the community.

The initial $35 million program will run until June 2018.

Mr Dick said the focus of the fund would be on boosting collaboration between the private, public and non-government sectors to better prevent and detect health issues and ensuring care is shared by hospitals, GPs and primary health networks (PHNs).

It would also target ways to deliver better cooperation between generalists and specialists.

“I want to see Queensland hospitals partnering with GPs and primary health networks to develop a coordinated approach when it comes to treatment, whether that treatment begins in the community or in our hospitals,” Mr Dick said in a statement.

“These projects will create a health system that focuses on integrating patient care, and avoids duplicate testing and unnecessary hospitalisation.

“I want to see more patients accessing treatment and advice faster and closer to home, freeing up specialists in our hospitals to focus on more complex cases.”

The government has the AMA and PHNs on board. AMA Queensland president Chris Zappala said better integration within the healthcare system will undoubtedly benefit Queenslanders but it was essential that PHNs and other not-for-profit organisations are involved to ensure that the projects are broad enough to be sustainable over the long term.

Brisbane North PHN CEO Abbe Anderson said the extra funding would support people to remain living healthier for longer in the community and in their own homes.

NSW is also running a four-year, $120 million integrated care program in three demonstrator sites which heavily involves information technology, particularly the use of electronic shared care plans.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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