Drivers of transformational change have never been so compelling. The tensions that exist in healthcare today will continue to impact the system into the future. Valuable time and resources will be required to meet increasing demand; health system enablers such as funding and workforce are in limited supply and simultaneous investment in new strategies and technologies is required to meet the health and ageing needs of tomorrow.
1.0 Planning Sustainable Future Services
Health planning priorities are focused on a shift towards safe and effective service models which improve access and equity of care delivery through more cost effective means. However, demand and capacity forecasts can only be reasonably forecast for the short term. Together we need to generate healthcare strategies which capitalise on opportunities presented by technology, research, politics and the environment and provide integration of health services to meet the needs of our population across their lifespan.
Focusing on continuous improvement of clinical services has proven to be a reliable survival tactic in enhancing our capability and capacity to deliver healthcare when under pressure. To break the cycle of mounting pressure on acute services we need to engage further in the debate on how best to generate wellness in the community. Investing in transformational healthcare strategies focused on illness prevention comes with risks that are difficult to mitigate. Without understanding the actual costs, time required and likelihood of positive outcomes it is difficult to compare value against measurable acute service provision.
If we are to be successful, whole-of-life time health influencers such as education, environment, infrastructure, technology, media and politics will need to be consolidated into a single voice on the strategies which are deemed to provide the greatest likelihood of success. Examples where gains have been demonstrated include the investment in regional cancer networks where ambulatory and radiotherapy services are linked to local community support providers and reducing pressure on tertiary level facilities to provide the service. For strategies like this to be truly successful communication and coordination between clinical care teams and those social and community support services which promote wellness in at risk populations need to be shaped more holistically around the needs of the patient within their community.
2.0 Creating Organisations & Facilities that Truly Deliver
‘Best practice evidence based’ principles should drive better healthcare outcomes.
Human and technological capabilities drive the development of healthcare practice, improve outcomes from care delivery and inform the design of new services in an environment driven by shifting social and political values. A wealth of local and international knowledge and expertise continues to fuel the rate of change which is making it more difficult to predict future ‘best practice’ and sustainable Models of Care. If we are to navigate the drivers and create health organisations and facilities that promise to deliver innovation and improved outcomes it will require a change in thinking.
As our knowledge of the effectiveness of healthcare services and health promotion and prevention programs increases, the tension mounts around which strategies should be pursued in the development of new services and health organisations. Health organisations and facilities created today will influence our capacity to innovate and invest in sustainable healthcare strategies for the next 20 to 30 years, therefore the focus must remain balanced between the best solution for today with flexibility to adapt and embrace tomorrow’s opportunities.
Not every new hospital will be world class, but every new facility and service can be best in class, meeting the needs of their local populations. Australia has a complex and costly health capital development programme to meet the growing infrastructure requirements of the future. Efficient delivery of these projects will require robust strategic procurement analysis and risk management which apportions appropriate risk to industry without incurring undue financial premiums. There is no best-fit for all projects, the wave of Public Private Partnerships or Managing Contractor models both have merits and challenges which need to be considered on a project by project basis. Efficient capital project delivery is a fundamental component of achieving sustainability in healthcare as the resultant facilities need to be well designed, constructed, managed and flexible in their capability to support changing models of care.
To achieve efficient capital project delivery, it is critical that leader partners work together in planning and delivering of future services with well informed clinicians, health managers, planners, project managers, health agencies and community stakeholders.
3.0 About Thinc Health – working with you to meet the challenge
Thinc Health is helping to enhance knowledge across the sector, sharing our experience and those of other health services, challenging current thinking and ultimately delivering future focused strategies. Each time we engage with health organisations we are mindful of the tension between maintaining stability in current operational services and the need to challenge the very foundations on which they are created. In 2010, Thinc Health clients are being challenged to truly consider what healthcare could achieve in the future.
To improve investment performance we start by establishing a clear understanding of the business of healthcare delivery in order to design future models of care that are responsive to increasing demands and quality outcomes. We are committed to delivering better alignment between clinical and non-clinical support services, responsiveness of care teams to adapt to new work practices and improved patient and family experience. Together with clients we deliver new flexible and adaptable health organisations that break down old traditional models of care and construct high performing facility structures procured through the best methods available based on more than 25 years experience in the industry.
Thinc Health has a specialist team and network of advisors in a way which best reflects the needs of health by bringing together Health Leaders, Clinicians and Project Managers with demonstrated skill in working with clients to forge a new future. Our service commitment is to bring health sector leadership, service planning, and clinical redesign together to drive the most successful outcomes in new infrastructure planning, strategic procurement advice and business case development, facility planning, Strategic Facility Management and major projects delivery across Australia.
This article has been provided by Steve Hall, a Senior Consultant and Manager of Advisory Services working with the team to deliver strategies which improve outcomes in health and ageing projects nationally and overseas.