Commissioning: new ways of working together.

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PHNs transitioned to the new world of commissioning which sees them funding and subcontracting health care and other services on behalf of the Australian Government rather than delivering them directly.

The healthcare commissioning model in Australia is designed as a continual and iterative cycle involving the development and implementation of services based on planning, procurement, monitoring, and evaluation. Clinical commissioning specifically provides a roadmap for systematically linking identification of health needs and priorities and quality service availability. The focus is on outcomes to ensure continuously improving services that deliver the best possible quality and outcomes for patients, meet population health needs and reduce inequalities within available resources.

The overall health care gains sought are value, quality, efficiency and effectiveness, and to this end, the issues of business governance and clinical governance are critical.

From a PHN perspective, the key considerations for commissioning include:

  • Efficiencies (less in administration of programs, and more to the patient)
  • Cost effectiveness (value for money)
  • Quality and safety
  • Meeting service gaps and health priorities
  • Risk management
  • Engagement / commissioning of appropriate parties
  • Workforce support and availability
  • Client centred vs practitioner focused

From a practice perspective, the key considerations for commissioning include:

  • Clinical governance and oversight mechanisms
  • Knowing your population and its needs (identifying gaps)
  • Clinical contracts and legal requirements
  • Policies / procedures relating to the area being tendered
  • Service model design and referral pathway
  • Sourcing the staff / contractors (future workforce)
  • IT / IM capabilities
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Know what it costs to deliver a service – per unit cost
  • Model cost (including infrastructure and program support)
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Demand management of referrals

We can support health services to conceptualise opportunities and funding submissions to PHNs, and support their business growth and development.

Please contact Peter Larter to discuss your needs.


Image c/o Australian Department of Health, PHN commissioning cycle