Allied health bangs interoperability drum

3 minute read

The sector wants better funding for data sharing and a seat at the table when health system reform is on the agenda.

Allied health professionals want to be in any room where health reform happens, and a big piece of interoperability funding when the federal government opens the purse-strings in the upcoming budget. 

In its pre-budget submission, published yesterday, Allied Health Professions Australia called for the government’s backing to develop a “standard clinical terminology dataset for allied health practice”, as an initial step to improving interoperability for allied health information. 

“A standard clinical terminology data set applicable to the Australian allied health practice context is needed before software developers can include allied health information into any interoperable electronic health system solution, including My Health Record,” the submission read. 

The group, which has been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to integrate allied health professionals into My Health Record, asked the government to commit to providing funding from July 2025 to help complete the integration. 

“These solutions will enable allied health professionals to participate in real-time sharing of information within multidisciplinary care teams, irrespective of care settings and audiences and without reducing time available for care delivery,” AHPA said. 

It also called on the government to engage the allied health sector in its rollout of the of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recommendations. 

The Aged Care Royal Commission found that allied health was “underused and undervalued across the aged care system”, despite being essential to residents’ wellbeing, AHPA said. 

“The average amount of allied healthcare provided per resident per day is now just over half of the eight minutes found to be grossly insufficient by the Royal Commission,” the submission read. 

“The allied health-related reforms recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety require provision of allied health services to aged care residents based on clinically assessed need. 

“This has not yet been achieved.” 

APHA asked that the government “work with the allied health sector and residential [aged care] providers to collect and analyse quality detailed data and evaluate implementation outcomes”. 

Allied health services should also be involved in the implementation of the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS Review recommendations, read the submission, “including in addressing underutilisation of therapy supports and ensuring sufficient allied health workforce capacity”. 

“Although therapy support utilisation receives little attention in NDIS data and analysis, examination by the allied health sector shows that utilisation rates (planned supports compared to actual payments) are much lower for allied health services than for plan utilisation overall,” read the report. 

To identify and address other barriers to equitable therapy support, AHPA recommended a “Raise the Level project, enabling the National Disability Insurance Agency to work with peak allied health providers, Disability Representative Organisations, the NDIS Commission and researchers”. 

Ultimately, the success of the myriad of current reforms, including aged care, disability and primary care reforms, would hinge on the allied health workforce, outlining the need for an allied health workforce strategy, AHPA said. 

“A national strategy informed by data is needed to develop quality workforce planning, sustainability and service modelling for allied health services across all health and care sectors,” it said. 

“Without sustainable planning and modelling, the present lack of access to allied health services experienced by many consumers will only get worse.” 

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