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Briefing paper

Active disinvestment in low-value care in Australia will improve patient outcomes and reduce waste

Primary health care Community health Medicine Australia
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apo-nid113321.pdf 1.1 MB

This Issues Brief makes recommendations about the critical steps to be taken in Australia to promote disinvestment in low-value healthcare and encourage use of high-value care. These recommendations are not quick fixes, but essential if Australia wants to continue to have a world-class healthcare system; providing Australians with the best possible health outcomes in a sustainable manner into the future.

Major recommendations include:

  1. The expansion of the work of MSAC and PBAC, to continue the work of the MBS Review Taskforce at the conclusion of its current review. Improvements to implementation processes for recommendations need to be made to enhance speed of implementation.
  2. Aligning funding with the health outcomes achieved by services. This will require routine capture of health outcomes data.
  3. Audit, feedback and reporting of outcomes to help providers track improvements in care provision over time and to assist patients in choosing high-value care and quality providers.
  4. Encouraging private health insurers to contribute to the evidence base of what constitutes high and low-value care, through use of the rich datasets they collect, and, not to cover non-evidence-based treatments and services.

Crucial to the success of this work is continued strong leadership from Commonwealth and state and territory governments and wide stakeholder buy-in to ensure that the community understands disinvestment is about delivering high-value care, not cost-cutting.

All health system stakeholders, including industry, can be involved in the promotion of high-value care and in reducing use of low-value services. As part of this initiative, active participation of patients and consumers in decision-making about their healthcare should be encouraged. Overall, ongoing cooperation of all stakeholders will help to ensure disinvestment in low-value care continues so that the Australian healthcare system can provide high-value care and achieve the best possible health outcomes for all Australians.

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