With increased healthcare costs due to the ageing of the Australian population, it is necessary to improve health outcomes while ensuring the sustainability of the health system.
It is crucial to identify potential impacts for Health Equity Matters member organisations’ delivery of primary health care services for people living with HIV and for the provision of prevention and health promotion programs for key populations. Health Equity Matters has been actively engaged in providing feedback on key aspects of the health reform agenda:
• Reform to TGA and PBS processes
• Electronic Health Record
• Medicare Locals and Local Hospitals Network
Reforms to TGA, PBS and MBS processes
Health Equity Matters strongly supports Australia’s system of regulating medical devices and medicines – through the Therapeutic Goods Administration – and subsidising access to these products – through the Pharmaceutical and Medical Benefits Schemes. We also support reforms to these systems to improve access to new medicines and medical devices, while ensuring safety.
Health Equity Matters is particularly concerned to ensure communities affected by HIV are able to gain access to important medical devices and medicines, as soon as possible, while ensuring the safety and effectiveness. There continues to be innovative developments in HIV science, both in terms of treatments for people with HIV and medicines used to prevent HIV-negative people acquiring HIV – referred to as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). Timely access to these new medicines for therapeutic uses for key populations is crucial. Availability of HIV treatments for people with HIV enables individuals to live full lives, both in terms of quality and longevity, while making PrEP available to people at high risk HIV is essential to Australia realising its goals virtual elimination of HIV transmissions by 2020. Similarly, Health Equity Matters is working to support timely access to emerging testing technologies, including HIV self-testing devices.
For further detail on these issues, see Health Equity Matters’ submissions to the TGA’s Consultation: Accelerated assessment of medical devices – Priority Review pathway
My Health Record
Health Equity Matters continues to monitor the roll-out of e-health reforms, including the My Health Record, previously called the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). Health Equity Matters analyses key issues for people living with HIV relating to the sharing of health records among health and allied health-care professionals, including maintaining privacy and protecting from discrimination. For further information on this see the following documents:
- Submission: Electronic Health Records and Healthcare Identifiers: Legislation Discussion Paper June 2015
Health Equity Matters’ comments in this submission address issues regarding privacy and confidentiality, and expresses concerns about the opt-in model for healthcare providers. Health Equity Matters also suggests inclusion of NAPWHA as a community representative on the Board of the new Australian Commission for Electronic Health (ACeH).
- E-health record snapshot – engagement by people with HIV Updated October 2013
This briefing paper examines a trial which suggests great interest in the eHealth record among people with HIV.
Primary Healthcare Networks
Primary Health Networks (PHNs) began operation on 1 July 2015. PHNs were conceived to increase efficiency and effectiveness of health services for patients and improve the coordination of care across the system.
The Health Equity Matters briefing paper Primary Health Care – the landscape in 2014 provides details about the role of PHNs.