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    Patient choice is key for ongoing healthcare needs

    Medibank at Home Symposium panel

    Our customers have told us they want more choice in where their healthcare is delivered, so Medibank has been focused on ensuring healthcare is accessible even in difficult circumstances.

    We’ve been expanding Medibank at Home programs, providing our 3.7 million customers with greater choice and flexibility by offering some healthcare as comfortable, convenient at-home care.

    We recently hosted our hospital partners and healthcare experts at Medibank’s At Home Symposium to discuss the future of care and how we can work together.

    Our new patient-centred services allow our customers, in partnership with their healthcare professionals, to play a more active role in their treatment. The evidence shows that when it is clinically appropriate, treatment in the home provides a more positive patient and carer experience, lowers preventable hospital readmissions and reduces costs to both the individual and the healthcare system.

    But these programs are also about the future of healthcare in Australia. As a nation, we are getting older and sicker, and the number of obese and overweight Australians is rising steadily. The at-home model of healthcare delivery frees up services and resources for people requiring in-hospital care, as we face growing demand for hospital services and greater pressure to ensure our healthcare system is sustainable.

    Medibank at Home services now include rehabilitation, dialysis, chemotherapy, reconditioning rehab and palliative care, with an infusions trial to commence shortly, meaning almost 1,800 customers have had real choice in where their healthcare is delivered.

    This is only possible through our partnerships with our providers; the doctors and hospitals who offer their patients this choice, the providers who deliver the at-home services including nurses, physios, and occupational therapists, and the organisations who add the personal care element.

    We know Medibank at Home is changing our customers’ lives. At the Symposium, I spoke of a 79 year old customer in Western Sydney, who was spending 12 hours a day travelling to and receiving dialysis at hospital, three times a week.

    Tom cannot drive or access public transport due to surgical complications, and he had to be transported to hospital on a stretcher using patient transport.

    Now that Tom is a Medibank at Home dialysis patient, he wakes up, has a cup of tea, and the nurse arrives at home to administer his treatment in bed while the radio is on. Tom says this is the best thing that Medibank has ever done.

    Our Medibank at Home team hears stories like this every day. Our Chemo at Home customers have told us that getting their treatment at home makes such a difference – at the hospital, they’d feel their blood pressure and anxiety rising, and they’d often have difficulty getting to and from hospital, relying on family or friends to drive.

    We know this isn’t new – the Victorian Government’s Health Department has run at-home care for almost 20 years. At-home care programs are also increasingly common in Europe and the United States.

    At the Symposium, we heard from international at-home care authority Professor Bruce Leff of Johns Hopkins Hospital and University, as well as local experts from Epworth, Western Sydney, Barwon Health, St Vincent’s, The Alfred, Deloitte, SilverChain and Townsville Health Service. The common theme was the positive impact that at-home care can have on patients’ lives.

    Providing care in the home is about offering patients a real choice in where their healthcare is delivered. Hospitals are, and remain, the home of acute care. But with clinical consultation, many of our customers could have their rehab, chemo or dialysis at home, enabling them to get on with their lives.

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