Critical gap in national healthcare to be addressed by new Collaborative Practice Centre

November 22, 2023

The Collaborative Practice Centre (CPC) is part of a growing global movement to address gaps in health care caused by limited collaboration between healthcare professionals. The Centre is charged with instilling teamwork and collaborative practices throughout Australia’s healthcare system, from the early stages of training through to upskilling practitioners. The Collaborative Practice Centre will equip current and future healthcare professionals to collaborate to improve health outcomes. “The Collaborative Practice Centre will directly confront the systems barriers, skill deficits, and even cultural expectations that stand in the way. “Australia is perfectly positioned to take a global leadership role in developing and improving collaborative practice,” Professor Maskell said.

Left to right: Professor Tina Brock, Director of the Collaborative Practice Centre, Professor Shelley Dolan, Chief Executive, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor Jane Gunn AO, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor Duncan Maskell, Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne and the Honourable Mark Butler MP, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care. Credit: Gavan Mitchell.

A new centre set to transform the way health professionals in Australia work together was launched today at the University of Melbourne.

The Collaborative Practice Centre (CPC) is part of a growing global movement to address gaps in health care caused by limited collaboration between healthcare professionals. The Centre is charged with instilling teamwork and collaborative practices throughout Australia’s healthcare system, from the early stages of training through to upskilling practitioners.

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler officially opened the CPC this morning, noting its potential to transform patient outcomes, relieve pressure on overstretched practices and hospitals, and improve access in rural and regional communities.

“Australians deserve access to a world class healthcare system. Patient centred, multidisciplinary care is key to managing the health of an older population with more complex and chronic disease,” Mr Butler said.

The Collaborative Practice Centre will equip current and future healthcare professionals to collaborate to improve health outcomes.

“The Australian Government is proud to work alongside the University of Melbourne to strengthen Australia’s healthcare system.”

The launch of the centre is backed by multiple studies that show patients are healthier when clinicians collaborate more closely in their care. Trials involving greater collaboration in specialist-supported GP care notably improved the health of patients with chronic conditions, and studies have shown diabetes patients treated under a highly collaborative model show significantly improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels compared to patients treated using a standard treatment procedure.

Increased collaboration has also been among priority recommendations in multiple government reviews, including the Federal Government’s 2022 Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report and the recent Aged Care Royal Commission.

Professor Tina Brock, inaugural director of the CPC, said there was a clear and urgent need for practitioners to prioritise greater collaboration in their approach to patient care.

“From physiotherapists to pharmacists to audiologists, we know patients have better outcomes when the health professionals involved in their care are connecting and communicating about shared solutions. But far too often, that collaboration isn’t happening,” Professor Brock said.

“The Collaborative Practice Centre will directly confront the systems barriers, skill deficits, and even cultural expectations that stand in the way.

“If we want Australians to receive the best possible quality of holistic care, we need to improve the way health teams collaborate. That starts right on the very first day of their training and continues throughout their careers.”

University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said Australia was positioned to be a global leader in establishing collaborative practice in health care systems.

“Australia is perfectly positioned to take a global leadership role in developing and improving collaborative practice,” Professor Maskell said.

“No other country has the right scale, the government support, the will from the health community, and a strong network of educational institutions to engage in this sort of transformation. The Collaborative Practice Centre provides a tremendous opportunity to improve outcomes for Australian patients while creating new ways of working that make Australia a world-leader in collaborative healthcare.”

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Professor Jane Gunn said the launch of the CPC demonstrated a recognition that more needed to be done to put patients at the centre of their care needs.

“Australians who access our health system expect their clinicians to be talking to each other, but too often that isn’t happening effectively – as a GP, I’ve seen and experienced it personally,” Professor Gunn said.

“Better collaboration has the potential to unlock significant new capabilities in patient care, which in turn can reduce the pressure on busy emergency departments and rural health services. It’s a game changer, and it’s exciting to be launching it today.”

The CPC will be based at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus and will coordinate with educational, health, and consumer groups to provide specialised teaming expertise for emerging and practicing healthcare providers.

For more information, visit mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/interprofessionaleducation

The source of this news is from University of Melbourne

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