Challenges in health services and health systems research

Dunbar, James 2003, Challenges in health services and health systems research, in PHCRED 2003: Growing research in primary health care, Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development, Adelaide, S. Aust., pp. 1-37.

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Title Challenges in health services and health systems research
Author(s) Dunbar, JamesORCID iD for Dunbar, James
Conference name Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development. Conference (1st : 2003 : Adelaide, S. Aust.)
Conference location Adelaide, S. Aust.
Conference dates 16-17 October 2003
Title of proceedings PHCRED 2003: Growing research in primary health care
Publication date 2003
Start page 1
End page 37
Publisher Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development
Place of publication Adelaide, S. Aust.
Summary The relationship between emerging trends in healthcare systems and the consequent research priorities will be explored.

Governments and policy makers in developed countries are increasingly focused on the management of chronic disease, reflecting demographic changes and shifts in the burden of disease. Systems of quality improvement and reward are increasingly based on performance in chronic disease management. There is some evidence that countries with well-developed systems of primary care, such as Australia, achieve better health outcomes at less cost. In the past 15 years, almost all developed countries have undergone some type of health care reform. There has been a major focus on reducing costs; often involving shifting services from secondary to primary care. While there are few international comparisons, most suggest a complex relationship between the strength of primary care within the overall health services system and good performance, particularly with regard to lower costs of care and particularly relevant measures of health.

Aims for 21st century health systems
What, then, are the issues which are shaping contemporary general practice in developed countries? There are several imperatives: Safety, effectiveness, patient-centredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity. A study by the Nuffield Trust (Dargie, 1999) projected the shape of healthcare for the first fifteen years of this century. The study identified six issues that need to be addressed in the process of formulating health systems policies:

• Peoples’ expectations and financial sustainability
• Demography and ageing
• Information and knowledge management
• Scientific advance and new technology
• Workforce education and training
• Systems performance and quality (efficiency, effectiveness, economy
and equity)

Each of these six issues requires innovative thinking and priority setting on the part of the health sector, such as the delivery of health services in new and creative ways. Furthermore, there is a clear need for a finely tuned research, development and evaluation strategies to match these goals.
Language eng
Field of Research 111709 Health Care Administration
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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