Compared to the OECD average, Australians have longer life expectancies and lower mortality from key non-communicable illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. However, despite the good news, there are known issues with our health system and they need attention now. Australia’s growing and ageing population, as well as its rising disease burden from chronic conditions, means demand for healthcare is rising. This increases the pressure on already strained health budgets.
Governments want to know whether healthcare spending is delivering ‘value’. Patients and the community also need to know what they are receiving for their health dollar. The decisions as to what will, and what won’t, be provided to patients are made within the health system. To make these decisions, information is needed on what health technologies and models of care work and, if they work, at what cost? Surprisingly, this information is lacking for many of the decisions that need to be made within our health services.
The Productivity Commission has been calling for improved healthcare evaluation in Australia. Evaluation of healthcare provides information on clinical effectiveness and cost. As better decisions are made on what healthcare is provided, patients and the community will receive better value from their health dollars. This presentation pinpoints where strengthening of healthcare evaluation is needed. It provides a pathway to improve the evaluation of healthcare in Australia. It highlights an opportunity to improve Australia’s healthcare system in terms of effectiveness, equity and value.
Andrew Searles BEc, Dip Ed, MMedSTat, PhD
Professor Andrew Searles leads the health economics unit at Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). He is leading the development of a national framework to evaluate health technology on behalf Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA). He is an advisor to the NHMRC on impact metrics and is co-chair of an Australian Health Research Alliance Working Group to improve the evaluation of health technology in Australia. He is currently leading projects to improve research translation and research impact, and to improve access and use of health technology assessment at the local level.
BEc, Grad Dip Health Economics (PhD Candidate)
Penny is a health research economist at HMRI. Her degrees are in economics (BEc) and health economics (Dip Health Ec). Penny has worked variously in research and public policy. She also spent 15 years in consultancy as a health economist in both the UK and Australia. Her research interests include economic evaluations and economic modelling. Penny is working on projects to improve research translation and research impact, and to improve access and use of health technology assessment at the local level.