COVID-19 Testing: Straightforward, or difficult to access?

The message from Queensland Health is that we need more people tested for COVID-19, but consumer continue to be unclear about eligibility for testing, what testing entails, and what measures need to be taken either side of having a test. Many are reluctant to seek out testing if they are only showing mild symptoms, with the thought of isolation another disincentive.

While the Queensland Health COVID-19 site was given the thumbs-up by many as a good source of fact, inconsistencies between local and state information is compounding uncertainty on what to do. Most agreed that we should look to the tried and true strategies used during natural disasters, with regular centralized government messaging and local radio and news broadcasts nominated as the key vehicles for getting information out to the public.

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Harnessing the benefits of telehealth and virtual care

5 June 2020

Rapid expansion of telehealth and virtual care has emerged as one of the positive outcomes from COVID-19. Consumers shared key insights including:

  • Everybody is doing it differently. Let’s make it simpler, easier and less complicated for all consumers and health care providers to use telehealth.
  • Let’s ensure there is public awareness and system-wide acknowledgment of when and where telehealth is inappropriate.
  • Ensure consumers have choice in the way their healthcare is delivered e.g. face-to-face or by telehealth.
  • Virtual care should be based on clear criteria, consumer choice and be clinically appropriate.
  • Now is clearly the time to harness the potential of telehealth and address the gaps and inequities of this model of health service delivery

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Qld Health funding priorities 2020/2021

While talking about funding priorities for the next financial year, it was clear that health consumers have an appetite for major changes in health.  Consumers have suggested major reforms to long-held ways of providing health care.  Identified reforms are:

  • to the way patients are categorized for care
  • re-imagining HHS borders
  • funding healthcare
  • collaborating with consumers to design new models of care, service improvements and
  • funding models to actively address the social and cultural determinants of health and the systems barriers that keep some people in a cycle of poverty and ill-health.

 

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Priority Queensland populations – consumers and carers at risk of being left behind

19 May

Consumers identified health consumers and carers at risk of being left behind during COVID-19. This helped form their views on who should be included in priority Queensland populations and what healthcare should look like for them. Consumers also saw the value of focusing on the commonalities between these groups as their challenges may be similar e.g. accessing healthcare, navigating between health care services and health literacy.

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Being safe and feeling safe when receiving healthcare

From what consumers shared, a picture emerged of mixed messaging, inconsistent application of protective and safety measures, and varying levels of confidence in the health system’s ability to keep patients safe from potential infection. Some people feel frightened, vulnerable and forgotten.

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Positives and innovations consumers want to keep after COVID-19

Consumers outlined the positives and innovations they would like maintained during COVID-19 and beyond including improved consumer engagement, the collaborative, timely and effective decision-making at both the system level and at point-of-care, telehealth and virtual care, and that mental health is given equal weight alongside physical health.

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Re-balancing the health system: Consumer perspectives

When contemplating re-balancing the health system by bringing some elective surgeries back on-line, consumers identified key conditions that must be met in order them to feel safe when receiving their needed healthcare including:

  • Prioritising care for vulnerable consumers first
  • Addressing gaps in communication
  • Tailored conversations versus blanket-wide policies
  • Clear and early conversations about what postoperative care would look like and alternative ways of receiving that care, and the financial costs for consumers.

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Delaying Healthcare Due to COVID-19

Consumers told us they were delaying their regular healthcare due to COVID-19. There was uncertainty about what healthcare was still available and what wasn’t, and concerns about how all of this is being communicated.

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