The National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) strongly supports the Choosing Wisely Australia initiative being launched today by NPS MedicineWise.
Choosing Wisely Australia has the potential to improve the quality of care provided to rural Australians by encouraging conversations between rural health consumers and clinicians about the overuse of tests, treatments and medical procedures.
The cost of providing health care services to people in rural and remote Australia is often higher than it is in the major cities. Consumers may well have to travel long distances to access specialised care, which means they face high out-of-pocket costs. The cost of sending city-based health professionals out to rural areas can also be high, and this cost is frequently borne by governments.
One of the ways of making sure that scarce health resources are used as effectively as possible, while still guaranteeing rural people access to high quality care, is to minimise waste in the system.
“The value of Choosing Wisely Australia for rural Australians is that it will help everyone involved in the healthcare of a patient to have open and honest conversations about whether or not certain tests, treatments and procedures are necessary”, said Gordon Gregory, CEO of the NRHA. "Providing more care is not always the best option, especially if that care is not evidence-based and comes at a high price to consumers or governments. Money spent on unnecessary treatments means there is less to spend on the essential health care that many rural Australians currently miss out on".
“Choosing Wisely Australia is about empowering the patient by placing them where they should be – at the forefront of their healthcare – and enabling them to make informed decisions in partnership with healthcare professionals.”
The NRHA is pleased to see the medical colleges and societies taking a leadership role in the responsible management and fair distribution of our finite healthcare resources. Any effort to bring together consumers and clinicians to make the most of healthcare resources will be felt most keenly in rural and remote areas, where – out of necessity – a little bit often has to go a long way.
Gordon Gregory (Chief Executive) 02 6285 4660
Tim Kelly (Chairperson) 0438 011 383