$2 million grant to improve our healthcare system

Friday, 23 January 2009

The University of Adelaide has won a $2 million grant to help plan a better health care model for Australia which takes into account ethical issues and community views as well as economic considerations.

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers will investigate the impact of current health services, and the costs and value of alternative options for an improved healthcare system.

The Head of the University's School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Professor Konrad Jamrozik, says the grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will enable researchers to adopt a brand new approach to healthcare that has not been tried elsewhere in the world.

"The grant will allow us to look at the choices we face as a community with an ageing population, a growing caseload of people with chronic disease and an ever expanding plethora of interventions at various levels. We need to work out the best choices because we can't afford to pursue them all," he says.

The research team will attempt to follow up the introduction of a new drug or procedure with further studies to show evidence of its uptake and impact.

"Evidence that supports new drugs or practices is often made from clinical trials with a view to cost effectiveness and the impact on an individual's quality of life. We think it needs to be a broader approach which takes into account community views, ethical considerations and economic implications.

"Australia will get better value from its health system if the shortcomings of current practices are remedied," Professor Jamrozik says.

The multi-disciplinary team includes researchers with expertise in health technology, economics, community consultation and ethics.

Professor Jamrozik says he hopes the findings will have an international impact.

"We are well placed to do this work at the University of Adelaide because we already have a national reputation in providing advice to the Federal Government about which drugs in Australia should be subsidised and which particular procedures should go on the Medicare benefit schedule. Hopefully the international health community will also sit up and take notice."

The five-year project, entitled 'Healthcare in the Round', will be launched this year.


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Mr David Ellis
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