The patient journey: unravelling the maze

28 Nov 2006

From the patient’s point of view, Australia’s health system should be seamless. It should be designed around patients' needs, free of the legacies of historical divisions. Instead, the patient requires great skill in navigating the plethora of disconnected programs. The design of our health arrangements is structured around provider interests and funding sources. While governments have rhetorically abandoned input-based funding, in health care it still reigns supreme. Transforming our health system to focus on the patient would require structural and design changes at both commonwealth and state level. It doesn’t mean spending more money. Australia wastes a lot of money in health. We spend 10 per cent of the GDP per annum on health, double the amount spent in the 1960s. Part of the reason for the increasing costs faced by patients is that present inefficient health arrangements are coming to the end of their design life.

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