Integrity, working together and courage are EMPHN’s values. All these values are integral when working with partners in health.
Today we had the privilege of hearing from one of those partners, healthAbility. Agata and Georgia walked us through the IDEAS (Integrated Diabetes Education and Assessment) program. This program was developed in 2009 and has grown and expanded over time from just one site in Box Hill to operating with a range of service partners across the eastern suburbs.
The program works with those who are unable to manage their diabetes and often present to Emergency Departments. Patients can also be referred through general practice. The program is founded on the relationships and trust that it has built between community health and the hospital system. IDEAS provides a collaborative and integrated approach with Endocrinologists, GPs and allied health (such as Diabetes Educators, podiatry, dietitians etc). The program not only addresses specific medical concerns but also works as a wrap-around service with a range of social programs to build up wellbeing.
As with all programs, it faces challenges. Barriers for clients, in particular, are around GP access and costs associated primary care. In addition, the lack of integrated health systems can mean that there are administrative burdens that could be avoided with data entry. Although there are challenges, the positive outcomes for the approximately 3,000 people that access the service highlights the need for this holistic care with patient satisfaction at 94%.
As the program continues to grow from strength to strength, it is finding new ways to become sustainable in funding and workforce. This innovative model of care works hard to keep those with chronic and complex conditions, such as diabetes, out of the hospitals and managed at home. It is this kind of care, that keeps people at its heart, that provides better outcomes for patients and the health system.