From crisis to opportunity: forum highlights innovative use of data, workforce and partnerships

September 15, 2020

A concierge model using non-traditional workforces to reduce the risk of transmission, a project using data to predict demand for post-pandemic services, and a partnership model addressing the needs of local communities were among the case studies shared at the first COVID-19 health sector forum last week.

On Wednesday 9 September, the VHA hosted its first sector forum exploring the COVID-19 response across the Victorian healthcare system. The forum, From Crisis to Opportunity, brought together representatives from across the Victorian public health sector including health services and community health services to discuss opportunities and consolidate ideas, insights and innovations implemented in response to COVID-19.

Sector leaders shared case studies and learnings on the COVID-19 response

Alfred Health’s Director of learning and innovation, Joanne Donovan, spoke about the concierge model implemented on wards across the health service. She spoke about the opportunities to use non-traditional workforces differently to keep patients, visitors and staff safe and reduce the risk of transmission.

Nicole Bartholomeusz, CEO at cohealth presented on the COVID+ Pathway Pilot underway in north west metropolitan Melbourne. She discussed the collective opportunity to address care needs of the local community and the implementation of a model of care that leverages key partnerships, capabilities and virtual care to achieve shared outcomes.
Sally Hoffmann, Chief of Services at Connect Health and Community spoke about the Customer Gateway Project looking at data to predict demand for services and inform planning.

VHA members share opportunities to extend change

Based on the sector experience and learnings throughout the pandemic, the attendees also identified opportunities to extend change and innovation across the sector. They discussed the broader implications of COVID-19 on the health system now and into the future.

Key priority areas included the need:

  • to use financial resources across the system differently
  • for an increased focus on evaluation, data and continuous adaptation and iteration
  • for greater integration, information sharing and collaboration
  • to sustainably embed telehealth as a tool for care delivery
  • to make the most of the shifting dynamic between clinicians and consumers
  • to redesign the workforce with a focus on new roles and capabilities, expanded roles and new models of care.

While these ideas and insights are not new, the pandemic has accelerated bold steps forward in the reform and redesign of the under-pressure health system for a more sustainable future. What we have seen in the past months, is the fast-tracking of responses across the system that have long been advocated for and with the potential to solve complex and persistent challenges across the system.

The VHA will continue to work with its members to effect change and ensure these changes are supported to take hold and retained post-pandemic to create a strengthened and more resilient system for the future.