Deakin University

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Responsiveness of a rural Aboriginal community controlled health organisation: A qualitative study.

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-18, 03:58 authored by Hannah BeksHannah Beks, Kevin P Mc Namara, Fiona Mitchell Mununjali, James A Charles Kaurna, Vincent VersaceVincent Versace
INTRODUCTION: Responsiveness of health care systems is a global concept defined as the ability of systems to function in a manner that meets the expectations of individuals, and is under-studied. In Australia, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) are valued by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for the provision of holistic culturally safe primary health care and are well positioned to be responsive to community needs. OBJECTIVE: To develop a conceptual framework examining the responsiveness of a rural ACCHO to the health care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in their service region. DESIGN: A qualitative interview study using abductive reasoning was conducted. Interviews conducted with Aboriginal clients, key informants, and ACCHO health personnel from two evaluations undertaken in partnership with a rural ACCHO located in Victoria, Australia, were analysed through an iterative process of identifying key concepts from the data and evidence. Key concepts were used to develop a conceptual framework. FINDINGS: Across the two evaluations, 22 participants were involved in data collection and 28 interviews were undertaken. A conceptual framework examining the responsiveness of a rural ACCHO to the health care needs of Aboriginal Peoples within their service region was developed and encompassed three concepts: operating within a complex adaptive system, mechanisms of responsiveness used by the ACCHO, and challenges experienced by the ACCHO when being responsive. DISCUSSION: The developed conceptual framework expands on research supporting the value of ACCHOs in providing holistic culturally safe health care to their communities, particularly in rural settings. A key finding is the importance for ACCHOs to meet the health care needs of their community whilst navigating needs in the context of the broader health care system. When dissonance is encountered between external system components and community needs, challenges can be experienced such as adequately resourcing models of service delivery and maintaining the provision of services. CONCLUSION: Conceptualising the health care system as a complex adaptive system in which an ACCHO operates and is responsive, highlights the competing demands experienced. Findings expand on mechanisms of responsiveness used at the service-user interface. Future research should examine how the broader health care system can support the role and functions of ACCHOs in being responsive to the health care needs of their communities.



Aust J Rural Health