Case for change

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.

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 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 addresses 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 in the Resources library.