In March 2014, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) commissioned the Health Issues Centre Victoria (HIC) to investigate and make suggestions to improve the consumer experience of the National Scheme that regulates health practitioners.
The aim of this project is to provide recommendations to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) on potential actions to increase public confidence in the organisation and, specifically, to improve the experience of consumers as notifiers. One important aspect of this project is to increase openness and communication about the organisation’s processes. The willingness of members of the community to bring concerns about health practitioners to bodies like AHPRA is important so public confidence in the process is critical. Given the current legislative arrangements, this project focuses on practical proposals for improving consumer experiences of AHPRA and in the context of the joint consideration process between AHPRA and the Office of the Health Services Commissioner (OHSC). A range of parties notify AHPRA about concerns with health practitioners - other health practitioners, employers and organisations, as well as consumers.
This report focuses on the experience of consumer notifiers. Feedback from consumers suggests that their experience as a notifier when their complaint is dealt with by health practitioner boards is not well understood and often unsatisfactory.
1: Provide better information on the website, using professionals with skills in health communication with consumers working with a consumer panel
2: Develop more meaningful communication with consumers throughout the notification process
3: Improve the initial contact and invest in skills and expertise at this first point of contact
4: Build on current collaboration between AHPRA and the OHSC to develop seamless complaint management and resolution across the two organisations. This should be based on the ‘consumer journey’ and seeking to address the full range of issues in the consumer’s complaint in the most timely and complete manner
5: Use process redesign and lean principle to explore options for swifter resolution and more timely management of notifications
6: Reconsider the role of the consumer as a notifier in the ‘model of practice’
7: Ensure that complaints and notification contribute to systems change and that is demonstrated to the community and to health practitioners
8: Consider measures to increase AHPRA’s engagement with consumer and the community