DEBORAH COLE Board Chair, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA)
Providing real value requires a healthcare revolution
As a healthcare professional, one of the hardest
Like most healthcare organisations, we had a
things to admit is that what you’re doing doesn’t
finite amount of funding and resources. The only
work. One of the most challenging things is to
way to effect change was to focus on value and
change it. And one of the most rewarding things
outcomes from a patient perspective.
is to see that change achieve meaningful results. I have just returned from Europe where I had the
We reviewed The strategy that will fix healthcare paper by Porter and Lee and used it to inform
honour of accepting the international Value Based
our framework for the future. We applied Porter
Health Care (VBHC) Prize 2019 for Excellence in
and Lee’s VBHC principles, enhanced them for
Primary Care on behalf of Dental Health Services
our setting and developed our value-based health
Victoria (DHSV). As CEO of DHSV I couldn’t be
care model for oral health care. Throughout this
prouder that our organisation was recognised
process we were navigating unchartered territory.
on such an esteemed international stage. It was
It was confronting and exhilarating all at once.
a wonderful recognition of our commitment to
It required us to face our failures and commit to
providing value to patients by focusing on the
incredibly complex change without reverting to
health outcomes that matter most to them.
the safety of the familiar. Every step was debated,
While our move towards providing value-based oral health care is still in its infancy, we are already seeing incredible results. I’d like to briefly
hypothesised, repeatedly revisited and most importantly, co-designed with our clients. Last October, we launched our VBHC proof
share our experience thus far in the hope that
of concept clinic and the results have been
it inspires more health leaders to join the global
exceptional. By focusing on prevention and early
intervention along with appropriate workforce
Two years ago, we looked at the state of oral health in Victoria and realised that our system was fundamentally flawed. There were significant
mix, we are delivering the best health outcomes at the lowest cost. We’ve seen a 60% increase in preventative
unwarranted variations in the quality and type
interventions and an 80% decrease in dentists
of services being provided. Oral health wasn’t
doing work that can be done by other dental
improving. Our clinicians were frustrated. And
professionals. We’ve also seen a significant drop
our clients felt disempowered.
in failure-to-attend rates from 18.9% down to 5.8%.
The Health Advocate • JUNE 2019