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Understanding the use and impact of allied health services for people with chronic health conditions in Central and Eastern Sydney, Australia: a five-year longitudinal analysis

  • Margo Linn Barr (a1), Heidi Welberry (a1), Elizabeth J. Comino (a1), Ben F. Harris-Roxas (a1), Elizabeth Harris (a1) (a2), Jane Lloyd (a1) (a2), Sarah Whitney (a3), Claire O’Connor (a4), John Hall (a5) and Mark Fort Harris (a1)...

Abstract

Aim:

To describe the characteristics of people in Central and Eastern Sydney (CES), NSW, who had a General Practice Management Plan (GPMP) and claimed for at least one private allied health service item; and to examine if allied health service use results in less hospitalisations over a five-year period.

Background:

The number of people living with chronic health conditions is increasing in Australia. The Chronic Disease Management programme was introduced to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to provide a more structured approach to managing patients with chronic conditions and complex care needs. The programme supports general practitioners claiming up to one GPMP and one Team Care Arrangement every year, and the patient additionally claiming for up to five private allied health services visits.

Methods:

A prospective longitudinal study was conducted. The sample consisted of 5771 participants in CES who had a GPMP within a two-year health service utilisation baseline period (2007–2009). The analysis used the 45 and Up Study questionnaire data linked to the MBS, hospitalisation, death and emergency department data for the period 2006–2014.

Findings:

Of the eligible participants, 43% (2460) had at least one allied health service item claim in the subsequent 12 months. Allied health services were reported as physiotherapy, podiatry and other allied health services. The highest rates of allied health service use were among participants aged 85 years and over (49%). After controlling for confounding factors, a significant difference was found between having claimed for five or more physiotherapy services and emergency admissions (HR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.72–0.95) and potentially preventable hospitalisations (HR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.64–0.96) in the subsequent five years. Use of allied health service items was well targeted towards those with chronic and complex care needs, and use of physiotherapy services was associated with less avoidable hospitalisations.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Margo Linn Barr BSc, MPH, GCertTertTLP, PhD, Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Faculty of Medicine, University of NSW, Level 3, AGSM Building, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia. E-mail: margo.barr@unsw.edu.au

References

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Keywords

Understanding the use and impact of allied health services for people with chronic health conditions in Central and Eastern Sydney, Australia: a five-year longitudinal analysis

  • Margo Linn Barr (a1), Heidi Welberry (a1), Elizabeth J. Comino (a1), Ben F. Harris-Roxas (a1), Elizabeth Harris (a1) (a2), Jane Lloyd (a1) (a2), Sarah Whitney (a3), Claire O’Connor (a4), John Hall (a5) and Mark Fort Harris (a1)...

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