Welcome to iHealth
It has taken us 20 years to understand the health care system in Australia – the policy, economic, cultural and behavioural factors which result in the system we work in.
General Practice is unique in that we have interactions with all sectors of the healthcare system – private and public; inpatient and outpatient non-GP specialist medical care; community and hospital allied and nursing care; and community and hospital pharmacy services.
We believe this perspective gives us an opportunity to see the system as it is and imagine and design a system which would work better for our patients, our community and the economy.
General Practice -
The centre of health care
Source: Australian Digital Health Agency.
In Australia the majority of health care is coordinated by General Practice.
To be eligible for Medicare rebates for secondary care services a patient must be referred by a GP. This gatekeeper role is crucial to the clinical and cost effectiveness of health care.
GPs manage considerable uncertainty and risk at a lower cost, specialists provide certainty and procedural intervention at a higher cost.
Most of the high frequency users of health care maintain a clinical relationship with one particular GP. It is this particular GP-patient relationship which is the cornerstone of the clinical relationship.
Most patients have a preferred GP or at least a preferred General Practice. This is particularly true for high volumes users of health care.
It is also true that General Practice provides more health care than any other sector of the health system. The data to the right compiled from various sources demonstrates this. Very few patients use Emergency, hospital and specialist care and all of these are discharged back to General Practice.
High frequency users of healthcare – the sickest and most complex 5% – consume 50% of healthcare expenditure and cost the system, on average, ~ $50 000 per annum. We are building systems and solutions to address this sector, outside of the constraints of Medicare funding.
General Practice – leveraging its central role
To successfully address this issue requires a network of practices, businesses, information technology and built infrastructure.
Simple, acute presentations are common and require a discrete set of services where accessibility and convenience is paramount.
Conversely, long term condition and complex care, which already accounts for >40% of General Practice consults requires a multi-disciplinary care approach with a focus on risk factor modification, refining chronic disease management and rehabilitation through an iterative approach, and timely patient and clinician management of inevitable acute exacerbations.
To be successful, we believe we need to be able to price, market and deliver both approaches.
To do this we are developing a suite of services targeted at patients with specific needs.
We are building specialised iHealth Solutions for high need populations:
- Mothers and babies through our baby clinics;
- Young children with complex needs via our Kidscare service;
- Chronic disease via our evidence based iHealth Plans;
- Mental health via our Healthy mind clinic; and the
- Elderly via our Healthy ageing clinic;
To do this we are using:
- Patient monitoring and feedback of biometric markers (BP, pulse oximetry, weight, blood sugars etc) using our eHealth tech stack with appropriate remuneration strategies for practice and GPs.
- Best quality / Whole person primary care
- Solutions which are unshackled from Medicare initially targeting patient or insurer funding
- Corporate Plus health programs with family care integrated at the source, not adhoc and after the fact like current approaches.
Achieving a balance between frequent and infrequent care delivery, low and high cost care in a manner which is a geographically and economically sustainable requires a combination of clinical and financial literacy unique to iHealth Australia.
We will utilise collaborative arrangements between a geographic hub site which provides allied health services, preventative/wellness and chronic disease care as well as house an acute care/after hours care centre for aligned ‘spoke’ practices. Barriers to cross referral will be defused by co-ownership and multi-site work arrangement for those interested.
The best clinics will be able to collaborate to provide the best care rather than competing for patients.
Technology enhanced care
To create Centres of Clinical Excellence – to develop and demonstrate models of best practice, integrated, multi-disciplinary, patient-centered, primary health care.
To provide leadership and innovative thinking to advance the quality and effectiveness of primary health care in Asia-Pacific in the context of an ageing population and growing burden of chronic disease.
To develop and support the role of the Primary Care Physician or ‘super GP’ to manage patients with chronic or complex diseases. To achieve this we’ve built our human resources and systems around supporting the patient.
The iHealth Centre brings together under one roof, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, psychologists and other health professionals, ideally supported by on-site pharmacy, radiology and pathology services. The centres will also be venues for world class health education and training.
The iHealth Centre delivers more than just excellent health care – it is designed to be the epicentre for healthy living in the community, through helping people improve eating habits and nutrition; achieve better work-life balance, exercise, boost personal and emotional well-being and stay healthy and independent for longer.
Our first purpose built iHealth Centre in Indooroopilly is a state-of-the-art facility focused delivering the latest health care innovations. Our approach and know how has already led to one technology business – Welio a purpose built telehealth and eConsult solution for GPs and other health care providers see www.welio.com).
Take a look at the vision for our innovation hubs below.
One that provides patients all that they need and allows doctors and allied health to be all that they can be.
To succeed we need to partner with people who share our ideals, are innovative and passionate about achieving change.