Briefing paper

Reforming for value: opportunities for outcome-focused national health policy

Public health Medicine Health inequity health data Data protection Australia

Current national health policy emphasises costly and unsustainable scaling up of healthcare volume and perpetuates ongoing inequities in access to care. The Commonwealth Government’s Long-Term National Health Plan includes commitments to support flexible care models that do not rely on fee for service, as well as the development of a national preventative health strategy. However, without clear policy levers to measure and fund meaningful improvements in health outcomes, national efforts to achieve a vision of ‘a mentally and physically healthy Australia’ are likely to be hampered.

A number of recommendations are made for improving health within efficient costs on a national scale.

  • The National Health Agreement and related National Partnership Agreements must establish mechanisms to develop and report on health outcome indicators.
  • A national framework for outcome-commissioning accompanied by an Implementation Plan to progressively shift toward an outcome-focused health system should form part of a reformed National Health Agreement.
  • Mandatory development and linkage of health outcome data should be embedded in all national partnership reporting requirements, to be held in a national health outcome data repository under centralised custodianship.
  • The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) of validated patient-reported health and experience outcomes directory should be supported for initial work and ongoing development
  • National metadata architecture should be used across all national health data collections to facilitate linkage and modelling.
  • Modelling of unwarranted variation in healthcare and differential costs of care should be mandated for all bilateral and multilateral funding agreements, commencing with existing data collections from activity-based National Partnership Agreements on healthcare currently in the Commonwealth’s possession.
  • Governing agreements for national healthcare funding should be revised to mandate independent cost modelling for all bilateral or multilateral health agreements and should mandate efficiencies through population-based prevention and mitigation of disease.



Publication Details
Deeble Institute Issues Brief no.33
Publication Year: