Embedding economic expertise into daily health service decision-making
Australia spends around $180 billion dollars each year to deliver one of the best health services in the world.
Yet it has become clear that not all of this healthcare spend delivers benefit. Around 20% of this funding or $36 billion dollars is wasted on treatment that is costly and ineffective.
If just 0.5% of this waste in healthcare were addressed, an estimated $180 million dollars per annum could be better spent on cost-effective prevention, treatment and management of disease.
The embedded Economist project has been developed by NSW Regional Health Partners to assist health services to prevent this waste.
With funding from the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund, the embedded Economist Program is being implemented in six project sites.
The embedded Economist Program features two core components. First is the embedding or situating of a health economist within a health organisation for around 3 months.
Managers and staff within these organisations can connect with the economist at their site by attending capacity building workshops & presentations focused on health economics & evaluation topics nominated by them and/or having a meeting & receiving advice.
They can also engage more deeply to co-produce a larger project by applying health economics & evaluation principles & tools to improve the value of their program, service, initiative or technology.
The second component is an online course for senior managers & decision-makers. It teaches participants how to apply basic health economic & evaluation concepts to their work & how to measure the outcomes & impact of their program, service, initiative or technology.
The embedded Economist Program also facilitates an online community of practice (Comprac) for all staff interested in health economics.
embedding a health economist
A health economist is situated within each participating health organisation for 3 months
Senior managers & decision-makers can participate via an online course & community of practice
The embedded Economist Program has been designed to raise health professionals’ awareness of the benefits of economic evaluation.
It aims to upskill them in the principles of health economics, and encourage them to routinely collect economic data. It also urges senior managers to access and use health economic findings when making decisions about their services.
Overall the embedded Economist Program hopes to bring about health service practice change where needed, to ensure our local communities have access to timely, effective and sustainable healthcare.
For more information about the embedded Economist program, contact
Dr Donella Piper, Program Manager and Social Scientist