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Trial of new healthcare model to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes

University of Tasmania researchers will be part of a team undertaking the trial of a new general practice funding model aimed at improving the quality and costs to the community of health care.

The trial is the result of a partnership between the Federal Department of Health and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

The 18-month trial will be conducted by a team of researchers at Flinders University and a consortium of the University of Tasmania, University of Wollongong and Monash University.

Under the current health system, there are barriers to GPs providing longer consultations due to the structure of patient rebates.

The research teams will test if continuity of care, longer consultations and more follow-up can improve the quality of care received by patients attending general practice and in turn reduce health costs and unnecessary hospitalisations rates.

Both teams will be engaging the participation of practices within their research networks.

University of Tasmania’s Associate Professor, Jan Radford, said the ground-breaking research was a great example of the strengths of collaboration.

“There has been a lot of correlational research about relationships between factors such as consultation time and continuity of care, but to do it prospectively and in a randomised-controlled trial is novel and involves a more rigorous methodology,” she said.

“We are all combining our talents and strengths so it is really lovely to be collaborating.”

The trial will involve around 1800 patients from all three regions.

“There is strength in having an arm in each region,” Dr Radford said.

“We will also be seeking prospective permission to follow the patients involved for longer, so we will be seeking funding to do keep this going in some way, shape or form in the future.”