As the role of medicine changes with the growing expectations of consumers to have access to a variety of specialised treatments to meet their health needs, the delivery of medical services also have to change. With specialists resources limited in rural communities, utilising standardised criteria for accessing specialists outpatients as an essential service and shifting the focus from episodic care of individuals in hospitals to promotion of health in the community with an interdisciplinary approach presents challenges and requires whole of systems collaboration for its success.
With this in mind and in response to the inequitable access to Specialist Outpatient Services, Queensland Health has embarked on a journey of reform. One aspect of this reform has been the development and implementation of clinical prioritisation criteria (CPC).
CPC are transparent minimum criteria developed by clinicians to support equitable and appropriate prioritisation of access to specialist outpatient services.
This joint session will present the case for change and the Proof of Concept partnership approach undertaken by Queensland Health and Mackay Hospital and Health Service to implement standardised access criteria to public specialist outpatient services.
Improvement science methodology was utilised to assist healthcare providers to review and improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of their referrals.
Our quantitative audit analysis will illustrate that standardised tools developed by clinicians utilising a robust framework can improve referral quality and decrease variation in categorisation of referrals. The qualitative results will indicate that the methods utilised to engage and communicate with stakeholders is critical to the success of large scale reform.