More involvement needed in models of care
Clinicians and health administrators need to take a more active role in implementing and evaluating models of care (MoCs) for musculosketal health, according to a recent study.
The review, involving Curtin University and Fiona Stanley Hospital researchers, contends that the majority people who are familiar with the concept of models of care and are using them are the health practitioners and other stakeholders who were involved in their development.
Curtin University physiotherapist and lead author Associate Professor Andrew Briggs says a model of care is an evidence-informed policy or framework that describes what health services should be made available to consumers and how they should be delivered.
"In Australia, a range of models of care for musculosketal health has been developed in recognition of the burden of musculosketal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis," he says.
"Musculosketal disorders are now second only to cancer as the leading cause of disease burden in Australia, according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study."
Stakeholder perceptions must be considered
Dr Briggs says one of the primary challenges associated with the implementation of models of care is that clinicians and health stakeholders sometimes view the concept with scepticism.
"Unlike clinical guidelines, which indicate what care should be provided based on evidence but not how to provide it, models of care describe not only what to do but how to do it within a health system," he says.
"Models of care for musculosketal health are also developed using a health network process, which sets them apart from other frameworks or government outputs.
"For example in WA, a large group of multidisciplinary stakeholders [more than 500] including health policy practitioners from across the sector work collaboratively with the state Department of Health to develop and implement MoCs."
Dr Briggs also acknowledges that another problem has to do with having commitment from decision-makers (such as governments and policy makers) to support the implementation and evaluation of models of care.
While there is substantial evidence in Australia and across the globe that models of care are around and being used with good outcomes, he says it is just a matter of everyone getting on board.