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Integrating patient complexity into health policy: a conceptual framework


Maree, P and Hughes, R and Radford, J and Stankovich, J and Van Dam, PJ, Integrating patient complexity into health policy: a conceptual framework, Australian Health Review, 45, (2) pp. 199-206. ISSN 0156-5788 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© AHHA 2020. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1071/AH19290


Objective: Clinicians across all health professions increasingly strive to add value to the care they deliver through the application of the central tenets of people-centred care (PCC), namely the ‘right care’, in the ‘right place’, at the ‘right time’ and ‘tailored to the needs of communities’. This ideal is being hampered by a lack of a structured, evidence-based means to formulate policy and value the commissioning of services in an environment of increasing appreciation for the complex health needs of communities. This creates significant challenges for policy makers, commissioners and providers of health services. Communities face a complex intersection of challenges when engaging with healthcare. Increasingly, complexity is gaining prominence as a significant factor in the delivery of PCC. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) components of health policy, this paper proposes a policy framework that enables policy makers, commissioners and providers of health care to integrate a model of complexity into policy, subsequent service planning and development of models of care.

Methods: The WHO components of health policy were used as the basis for the framework. Literature was drawn on to develop a policy framework that integrates complexity into health policy.

Results: Within the framework, complexity is juxtaposed between the WHO components of ‘vision’, ‘priorities’ and ‘roles’.

Conclusion: This framework, supported by the literature, provides a means for policy makers and health planners to conduct analyses of and for policy. Further work is required to better model complexity in a manner that integrates consumer needs and provider capabilities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:complexity, policy, multimorbidity, value-based health care, people-centred care, guidelines, recommendations, framework(s), vulnerability, value framework, health service utilisation
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health systems
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health inequalities
UTAS Author:Maree, P (Mr Peter Maree)
UTAS Author:Hughes, R (Mr Roger Hughes)
UTAS Author:Radford, J (Professor Jan Radford)
UTAS Author:Stankovich, J (Dr Jim Stankovich)
UTAS Author:Van Dam, PJ (Dr Pieter Van Dam)
ID Code:141812
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2020-11-24
Last Modified:2021-09-03
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