We could facilitate accessible, safe, high quality care that is coordinated, comprehensive and person centred by practice staff working to the top of their scope. This model of care can reduce the demand for more general practitioners, and ensure patients are receiving an appropriate or improved level of care. This is what is commonly referred to as the 'Patient Centred Medical Home.’
As Australia’s population continues to age, demands on health care services are increasing.
In 2014-15, the average patient aged over 65 had visited the GP more than 10 times in one year. By 2030, it is expected that there will be a 25% increase in the number of people aged over 65. As the population aged over 65 steadily increases the frequency that health services, such as general practice, are used will grow at a great rate. This is on top of the growing demand by those under 65 who are currently living with one or more chronic health conditions.
Clearly this rate of growth, and the costs associated, are not sustainable and some rethinking about the way services are currently provided needs to occur to ensure patients get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.
A common sense approach would suggest that enhancing the role of nurses and other health professionals in providing more coordinated care to patients could reduce the demand for more general practitioners, and ensure patients are still receiving an appropriate level of care.
There is much to be learnt from the experience of other countries as to how to manage this challenge, and how that knowledge may contribute to the development of service delivery models that could work for general practices operating in South Eastern NSW.
A Popular service delivery model that is gaining momentum in countries experiencing similar demographic trends is that of the ‘Patient Centred Medical Home’ or ‘Health Care Home’. It promotes a way of addressing workforce issues while ensuring continuity of patient care. This model has been shown to improve the quality of care provided to patients.
Evidence about the benefits and challenges of utilising the Patient Centred Medical Home in transforming primary care can be found on the resources tab.