Left to Right: Brooke Ward – Project Officer; Nalani Cox - Initiative Owner; Alyssia Berghammer - HealthPathways Coordinator.
Left to Right: Alyssia Berghammer - HealthPathways Coordinator; Dr Tanya Casey - GP Clinical Editor; Dr Siobhan Jeffs – GP Clinical Editor; Dr Scott Preston – GP clinical Editor.
As the last region in Queensland to adopt HealthPathways, the Gold Coast Community HealthPathways team have a clear view of what they want to achieve with their programme.
“We see HealthPathways as the vehicle to assist in creating transparency to support GPs to understand referral options for patients across the entire Gold Coast region,” says Alyssia Berghammer, Gold Coast HealthPathways Coordinator.
“As our GPs and specialists collaborate on pathway development, we expect that this will break down barriers between primary and secondary / tertiary care, and improve coordination, collaboration, and communication between these groups,” she says.
Alyssia and the new HealthPathways team are realistic about the challenges ahead, and are putting plans in place to address them.
“Timely contact and involvement of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) has been one of our biggest challenges so far, and we expect this to continue,” says Alyssia.
“As Hospital SMEs have such large workloads and urgent clinical priorities, this can reduce the time they have available to engage with our team and review pathways,” she says.
“There are also competing interests from the different specialty areas, where each group may feel their service/specialty area is a higher priority to be published on HealthPathways.”
To mitigate these challenges, Alyssia and team are taking care to strike a balance between the high needs of the Hospital and Health Service (HHS), and the pathways and referral guidelines requested by GPs.
“As a new HealthPathways site, the list of pathways to localise is endless, so careful identification of the most pressing pathways is important to ensure time, budget, and HHS priorities are all met,” says Alyssia.
Improving transparency of available services across the local health system is also an important goal, says Alyssia.
“This includes improved / complete referral information for non-acute requests sent to the outpatient department, and improved utilisation of the statewide Clinical Prioritisation Criteria.”
“We hope that HealthPathways will also enhance and support the ability of GPs to manage more conditions in primary care, by following the agreed pathways developed with specialists. We may also be able to possibly delay, or eliminate the need for outpatient referral in many cases,” she adds.
As the new team starts their HealthPathways journey, they intend to engage early with key stakeholders by running a prioritisation workshop to discuss and coordinate areas they will target for pathway development over the next 12 months.
“We want to establish and engage with SMEs early in the process, to ensure pathway development is smooth and not delayed,” says Alyssia.
“We’re also working on a dashboard for our reporting, so that we can track our progress with pathway development, as well as live site usage and activity data,” she says.
Commencing face-to-face engagement with GPs will also be an early priority, to improve knowledge of community services available to their patients, away from the hospital system.
In addition to meeting with GPs to demonstrate, promote, and encourage use of HealthPathways, the team also intend to align with other activities and programmes to help spread the word.
“We’ll work alongside other Gold Coast Health activities, such as Smart Referrals, and the Gold Coast Refer Your Patient website,” says Alyssia.
“We’ll also collaborate with the Gold Coast Primary Health Network on GP engagement activities, reaching them through communicating with practice managers, and attending events. We’re also partnering with General Practice Gold Coast and General Practice Training Queensland, to promote HealthPathways and the benefits it offers,” she says.
The team also aim to encourage local HHS specialists to use HealthPathways as a teaching tool to GP registrars or medical students, to help embed HealthPathways early on, Alyssia explains.
Improved care and stronger relationships
Alyssia is very focused about what the new team want to achieve with HealthPathways, and positive about her early experiences.
“I see HealthPathways as a tool, to not only improve patient care in the primary care setting, but also to improve relationships between GPs and specialists; between mental health clinicians and other specialists; and improve the care and management of specific populations in the community,” says Alyssia.
“This includes those suffering domestic violence, mental health issues, abuse, or alcohol and drug use.”
“As a new HealthPathways Coordinator of only six months, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the role, and am grateful for the opportunity to work closely with our GP Clinical Editors, from whom I have learned a lot. I’ve also appreciated the amazing team that is Streamliners in Christchurch; and the HealthPathways Community throughout Queensland, who have welcomed us as a new team and are always keen to help, offer advice, and share their pathways and experience.”
Equal access to clinical information was one of the team’s main motivations for joining the HealthPathways Community, explains Alyssia.
“We wanted to ensure that we could offer the same opportunity for clinical information provision as GPs and other clinicians across the state,” she says.
“As HealthPathways is now used Australia-wide, we can enhance the ability of GPs to treat conditions within an agreed framework, plus give them quick and easy access to referral pathways that are specific to the Gold Coast region.”
If you’d like to know more about Hospital HealthPathways, or if your health jurisdiction hasn’t yet joined the HealthPathways Community please: