By Louise McKinlay, Director Consumers as Partners
We know better health outcomes are achieved when health professionals and services work in partnership with consumers, patients, carers and communities. Of course, some health services already do this, and do it well. But the focus on person-centred care is not consistent across the state – leading to great variation in consumer participation, experience and outcomes.
Consumers play a vital role in helping us to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly. Hindsight shows that in nearly every instance of avoidable harm, consumer letters, emails and phone calls have attempted to warn us about system failures that contributed to that harm.
Partnering in healthcare
As part of our methodology, we asked people what was most important to them. The Partnering in healthcare framework is the result. It outlines a new partnership and consumer participation approach to drive positive change in healthcare.
The framework aims to:
- bring consistency to how Victorians can participate in their own healthcare
- help health services involve consumers to deliver care that is safe, effective, person and family centred, equitable and clinically effective
- clearly describe consumer priorities for health services, SCV and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Partnering with consumers is a key driver behind our mission of outstanding healthcare for all Victorians. We work with health services to improve opportunities for consumers and community representatives to participate in quality and safety improvement activities.
Consumer voices guide our work
We have two key priorities that guide our work. The first is to ensure that consumer voices and choices are central to their own care, and that consumer-defined outcome measures and improvement goals are being delivered at a health service level and within SCV. The second is to ensure that consumer voices and experiences drive health service and health system improvement and improve people’s experiences and outcomes.
We are proud to have used a co-design approach to develop this framework. For the first time, we employed a consumer lead as part of our team, to ensure consumer voices were central in our work, and a sector lead to keep us connected with health services.
The Partnering in healthcare framework could not have been developed without the participation of many consumers, health professionals and community members. We will continue to work with you as we support the implementation of this framework across all public hospitals in the first half of 2019. We want you to inform a meaningful and easy way to measure our collective impact on improving consumer partnerships. The first step in this process will be a Partnering in healthcare forum in April 2019.
We look forward to you joining us.