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Health Care Home model shines in independent evaluation

Pinnacle Midlands Health Network Monday 20 March 2017, 03:43PM

Media release from Pinnacle Midlands Health Network

The Health Care Home (HCH), a modern patient care model developed by Pinnacle Midlands Health Network (Pinnacle MHN) and launched in NZ in 2011, has received praiseworthy results in an Ernst and Young (EY) report delivered this month.

During 2016 EY undertook an independent evaluation of the HCH model, as-commissioned by New Zealand’s four largest primary health organisations. Six New Zealand practices were evaluated including members of Pinnacle MHN, Pegasus, Compass and ProCare.

Pinnacle MHN CEO John Macaskill-Smith said the EY evaluation incorporated findings of past evaluation work, identified future performance measures and projected potential future impacts of the model.

“We are delighted that, in our opinion, the findings delivered at the beginning of March demonstrate HCH as a robust model for addressing many of the issues and pressures facing New Zealand’s health care system today”.

The conclusion of the report reveals that, from the perspectives of both patients and providers involved with HCH, the model has achieved very positive changes.

Macaskill Smith highlights some of the key findings.

“For those practices who implemented the key elements of the HCH model and consistently followed through, the report shows improvements in patient experience, clinician satisfaction, and care delivery; feasibly without negative impact on the bottom line.

“Within practices, new workforce roles were created, including medical centre assistants, clinical pharmacists, and social and community workers, which increased team-based care and reduced reliance on general practitioners (GPs).

“This allowed clinicians to work at the top of their scopes of practice, with participating practices reporting increases in efficiency and release of clinician capacity through processes initiated as part of the HCH model.”

Over 12 months, one practice estimated a saving of 44.45 working weeks of patient time. This was a result of effective GP triaging and offering alternatives to face-to-face care in the surgery.

“Once past the initial implementation period, practice staff were also positive about the new model, generally rating it higher than the traditional model of general practice,” Macaskill-Smith said.

He said the HCH model was developed in response to the imperative to change the way general practice is provided. Drivers included the ageing workforce and predicted shortages of GPs, increasing rates of preventable chronic conditions, and increasing demand on an already stressed hospital system. “The model however, is not just about managing system pressures. It also reflects consumer demand for more convenient alternatives to face to face care such as email or telephone when appropriate,” Macaskill-Smith said.

“The HCH model has been evolving since its initial conception in 2011 and now, in 2016, we can see clear and enduring positive changes to the way participating practices do business.” The model has currently been adopted by 15 Pinnacle MHN practices.

The report also made it clear that some elements of the model have been more challenging to implement and may need review or longer time to establish.

“A key message has been that this kind of transformative change takes time, a lot of pre-work and ongoing monitoring and support. Any future planning for wider rollout of the HCH in New Zealand should recognise the inter-linked multiple changes needed, and factor into model planning the necessary time and effort required to build a sustainable model and effectively embed changes.”

“We have a strong vision to implement the HCH model in New Zealand, and with the results of this report in-hand, we’re feeling energised as we look ahead to the future of the HCH.

Click here for an online copy of the report.

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