How 360 is working to join our disconnected health system

How 360 is working to join our disconnected health system teaser
​Paul Hersey - 360 Health + Community CEO

Having worked across different health systems around the world, I believe the one we have in Australia is one of the best. I also believe most of the complaints levelled against it aren’t because the system is fundamentally broken – it’s because it is disconnected, with nobody funded or wholly accountable to support the patient journey across multiple systems and funders.

 

The need for an integrated system has been the driving force for 360 Health + Community since our creation, and it was the leading factor behind our recent decision to begin offering in-home support under the Just Better Care brand.

When we integrated 5 established not-for-profits into 360 a year back, we aimed to bring together the pieces of primary health into what was essentially a coordination and connectivity system to help GPs better support their patent. We knew the amazing GPs across WA we work closely with every day weren’t always sure which services did what, patients were confused and, to compound matters, there wasn’t enough collaboration between existing services.

The 360 model

360’s model has been to place GPs at the centre of patient care. We have a wide breadth of in-house services delivering all across the state, and make sure we communicate everything back to the patient’s GP. What’s important is that it’s about collaboration, not competition; so where strong services already exist we support these providers rather than duplicate.

It’s been a big success, with 360 now WA’s fastest growing health service. But what we were lacking was the ability to deal with the range of other factors impacting wellbeing beyond primary care, all the responsibility of separate systems that were disconnected from our own: the social care, aged care and disability systems. 

Within these there are a huge range of providers doing great work, but not connected to the primary care that their clients so desperately need. It’s no wonder GPs find it hard to refer - too often the solution has to be multiple referrals into confusing systems. GPs expend valuable clinical time trying to navigate and to patients it becomes obvious that it is not about them but all about bureaucracy, funders and providers.

Just Better Care

So 360 made the decision to start operating in-home, social and lifestyle support services as Just Better Care – a well-established and successful model that has been operating in the eastern states for over 10 years. We now offer everything from practical interventions such as gardening and shopping, through to personal care and community nursing. 

By combining Just Better Care with our primary care services we can take clients who were sitting outside the primary care system and bring them in. We make sure they get the care they need, whether that’s from one of our services or elsewhere. We help them understand all their available entitlements and funding across the NDIS, community aged care and HACC, as well as health and social care more broadly. Their GP migrates to the very centre. 

In short, we’ve become a link and GPs who work with us have visibility to not just health but the other social factors which can affect it. This way, GPs can now spend more time treating their patients and less time figuring out who to engage or where to refer.

So the system isn’t broken, it’s just disconnected and it's going to take more collaboration and understanding to make it work for the people who matter the most: our patients. If we want it to reach its full potential, we need more connection between the parts that make up the whole, and we need more providers focused on making it easy for the very people we’re here to help. This is what the future needs to look like, and I believe it's time more providers took note.

 
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