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    Self-managed teams empowering health workers and improving delivery of home care

    One of the country’s largest at home care providers has stepped away from the traditional model of management and has turned to employees to manage their own teams.

    Medibank’s Amplar Home Health business in Queensland – a team of OTs, physios and nurses – has been experimenting with self-managed teams across Brisbane and the Gold Coast, to enhance their service offering and in response to patients’ requests to see the same healthcare professional each visit and faster visiting times.

    Amplar Health’s National Care Coordination Manager Kelly Mitchelson said that when the opportunity came up to reinvent the way the multi-disciplinary teams worked in Queensland, they used a range of employee and client feedback to create the new approach.

    “Our patients told us they wanted improved continuity of care, they wanted the same smiling face to visit them each day, they didn’t want to have to repeat their history to a new physio every day.”

    “Our hospital partners told us they wanted to speak to a local Amplar Home Health care coordinator who understood the region, not someone from outside the community.”

    “And our people told us that they wanted to travel less, work in areas they were familiar with and they wanted to deliver continuity of care to patients which would likely improve the quality of treatment,” she said.

    Ms Mitchelson said the team set about creating its own little ecosystem, and instead of everything being coordinated from its headquarters in South Australia, they were empowered to take charge of scheduling, referrals, communication and decision-making within their local areas, and make an even greater impact for customers.

    “We mapped out where we all lived, what areas we wanted to service, we stopped employees driving across the city and in addition to managing care of patients, we trained employees in the local referral management process- and we now look after patients and referrers in our own regions.”

    The project involved 40 clinicians and 410 clients in Queensland.

    When asked about the trial, Amplar Health Senior Physiotherapist, Georgia Armstrong said:

    “I feel a lot more empowered and engaged in my work. All my referrals now come from my local hospital and residential aged care provider, I communicate with the team in the hospitals when they first have a patient that needs support, I then work with allied health colleagues who live in the region to map out the best care for the patient and develop our rosters accordingly.”

    “The referrers love it because we’ve developed a relationship and made the referral process easier for them and we all enjoy not having to travel so far- its such a logical way to manage a multi-disciplinary team”

    So far, the self-managing teams approach has successfully:

    • Reduced travel by over 3,400km, reducing environmental impact.
    • Increased referral uptake with the new clinician-led scheduling and referral process.
    • Expanded client base with the ability to provide a more efficient care delivery with local clustering.
    • Improved client care and experience with clear and concise communication, decreased wait times and enhanced continuity of care with the ability to see the same practitioner. If a referral is received before midday, patients will be seen the same day. If received after 12pm, patients will be seen the following day.
    • Improved employee support and experience.
    • Valuable insights into referral trends aiding more accurate identification of recruitment needs.

    The experiment will extend to South Australia.

    Last month, Medibank announced it was experimenting with a four-day work week for 250 of its employees. These workplace experiments are aimed at challenging traditional approaches to work as the company seeks to lead the change for a stronger health system.

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