Australia’s first cross-sector health summit in Canberra

4 minute read

Wild Health will bring together key health leaders from across the sector for a conversation about health reform and interoperability.

Wild Health, The Medical Republic’s more tech-savvy sister publication, knows the government is looking for and open to new ideas.

So, what better than to bring our healthcare leaders, consumer groups and technology experts to Canberra to nut out what’s working and what’s blocking change?

Some of the healthcare sector’s most knowledgeable people will be there on 4 May to speak about how we can deliver meaningful reform, learning from others who’ve already nailed it.

They include Hans Erik Henriksen, who oversaw the health reform journey in Denmark that successfully reduced the number of hospitals from 98 in 1999 to 32 in 2019. Denmark moved care into the home and engaged patients in their own health. Mr Henriksen will explain how Denmark radically transformed its healthcare system to make GPs the centre and touchpoint of care, reducing reliance on the hospital sector.

Denmark has also pushed through cultural and structural resistance to create a more effective and financially viable system, and we believe Australia can learn a lot from this model.

We sense we are at a tipping point here, but we’re still standing on one side of the valley of health reform despair, unsure of how to cross it. We face a sick care system not a health care system, ineffective funding models, a healthcare workforce crisis, siloed technology across multiple sectors and a long list of other barriers.

Wild Health’s Canberra summit seeks to find some answers on how we move forward.

To kick off, Professor Stephen Duckett will join us to discuss the fading dream of universal healthcare. Can it be renovated to support a changing demographic, with an ageing population and increasing levels of chronic disease?

Are we in danger of returning to pre-Medicare days, when healthcare was a luxury, and what can we do about it?

Our first panel will include AMA vice-president, Dr Danielle McMullen; WentWest CEO, Ray Messom; RACGP president, Dr Nicole Higgins; CEO of AHHA, Kylie Woolcock; and Health Consumers’ Council of WA deputy director, Clare Mullen. They will discuss how we can flip the system to be more consumer-focused and less fragmented.

One of the biggest challenges we face is the uneven distribution of our healthcare workforce, leading to poorer outcomes and shorter life spans for those living in rural and remote communities.

We’ve put together a panel of experts who will examine the challenges faced by rural and remote communities. They include the CEO of Western NSW PHN, Andrew Coe; Ramsay Connect head of innovation, Ben Chiarella; Ochre Health Group owner and director, Dr Hamish Meldrum; and Bronwyn Phillips, who oversaw the Remote Patient Monitoring program in the Murray PHN.

At the centre of it all are GPs, getting more and more swamped by the onslaught of patients, mounting pressure, and neglect due to outdated funding models. The RACGP’s Dr Higgins will talk about the crisis from a GP’s perspective. 

Meanwhile, while we know finding the most efficient model to deliver care is on the government’s agenda, can we realistically deliver it without interoperability?

Mr Henriksen will join another panel, including FHIR founder Grahame Grieve, Mr Messom, and InterSystems regional director of data platforms Andrew Aho, to discuss just that question.

And if you’re wondering whether our primary care sector is ready for digital transformation, Semantics Consulting MD Tim Blake will share some fascinating data on primary care and digital technology adoption across Australia.  

The day will end with a session on how we shift our “sick care” system to a “well care” system. Primary Healthcare Nurse Consultant Jane Bollen, 89 Degrees East director Leanne Wells and Inala Primary Care CEO Tracey Johnson will pull the question to pieces.

In between panels, we will hear case studies of virtual blended and multidisciplinary models of care which are already in operation across Australia.

And if you want an even deeper dive, we are holding a pre-summit workshop on 3 May with Jay Rebbeck of Rebbeck Consulting and Ms Woolcock. The tickets to the workshop are limited.

The workshop will engage a room of key leaders to consider how we can deliver key changes to our health system, both in the short and the long term.

State and federal oversight and cooperation in funding and policy execution, a significantly expanded co-commissioning ecosystem, aligning technology and standards for data sharing within and between the regions will all be on the table

Tickets for the summit are on sale now, and you can see the full agenda on our website. It is shaping up to be a fascinating and vital event – you won’t want to miss out on this one.

Hope to see you there!

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