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New workshop highlights rural, remote health opportunities

07 April, 2015

A partnership between the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) will help equip rural and remote health service managers, clinicians, consumers and researchers with skills to make better use of health data.

AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said The Improvement Challenge, a workshop to be hosted by the two organisations on 24 May 2015 leading into the 13th National Rural Health Conference in Darwin, would bring together experts from around the country to examine how local health performance information creates opportunities for rural and remote health services.

"The Improvement Challenge will see health care managers and researchers experienced in rural and remote healthcare delivery, as well as a senior officer from the Federal Department of Health, provide insights into the local health data available and how it can be used to improve health service and healthcare performance," Verhoeven said.

"It is particularly relevant for today's health landscape, with its focus on data and evidence available to Local Health/Hospital Networks and to the Primary Health Networks due to begin operations on 1 July."

NHPA CEO Dr Diane Watson said the workshop will showcase the practical use of local-level health reporting in performance management and the variation it can highlight, even across similar communities.

"National, state or territory-level health reporting may camouflage performance results for individual communities," Dr Watson said.

"I look forward to demonstrating how our work provides health professionals the information they need to target strategies specific for their community, compare results with similar communities and benchmark improvements over time."

Dr Watson added that the workshop will provide international and national evidence on the important role performance measurement has played in health system improvements in the past decade.

The NHPA makes data available on its MyHealthyCommunities (link is external) website, where users can build custom health reports for over 125 measures of health and care.

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to identify data they need, even data that may not yet be available, and to have a conversation with key government and non-government agencies about the practical support they need to measure and improve health service performance and the health status of people in their region. The workshop will also provide several real-world examples – both national and international – for participants to experience.

"We are pleased to have a workshop with immediate and practical information for health services on the ground as one of the pre-conference events in Darwin," said Gordon Gregory, NRHA's CEO.

The Improvement Challenge will be held on 24 May, 2015 at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The 13th National Rural Health Conference will be held from 24 to 27 May at the Darwin Convention Centre.

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