Outcomes of allied health primary contact outpatient services in Queensland public hospitals; patient reported outcomes, wait times to care and impact on specialist wait lists

Ms  Sonia Sam1, Ms Michelle Stute1, Mr Peter Buttrum1, Ms Nicole  Moretto2,3, Dr Merrilyn  Banks1, Ms Maree Raymer1, Ms Marita Bhagwat1, Associate Professor  Tracy  Comans2

1Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Herston , Australia, 2Centre for Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Woollongabba, Australia, 3Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Wooloongabba, Australia


Unmet demand for specialist outpatient appointments in public hospitals continues to be a problem for the health care system.   Allied health primary contact services are part of the solution as they increase system capacity and in many cases, offer more appropriate care.  In recent years the number of allied health primary contact models in Queensland has grown considerably. This presentation reports on the outcomes and impact of allied health primary contact services.


A common, standardised data set was established and implemented using project management methodology. Data submitted from 48 primary contact services, involving lead clinicians from 7 different allied health professions, between 1 April 2016 and 30 March 2018 was analysed using Microsoft Excel.  Patient reported outcomes (Global Rating of Change), wait times to care, throughput, and the proportion of patients independently managed by allied health services will be presented.


Data was collected for 10 565 patients. Eighty percent of patients reported improvement and 67% reported clinically meaningful improvement in their presenting condition.  Care was provided within the clinically recommended timeframes for 99% of Category 3 patients and 67% of Category 2 patients. Fifty-five percent of the 10 565 patients managed and discharged were removed from specialist outpatient wait lists. Up to 79% of patients were independently managed by allied health primary contact services where the service model supported the allied health professional making discharge decisions.


These results indicate that allied health primary contact services provide timely and effective care and have a significant role in meeting demand for specialist outpatient appointments.  The presentation will discuss allied health primary contact service models delivering optimal outcomes, impact and efficiency. This presentation will be of interest to allied health leaders to identify high value allied health primary contact models, and opportunities to improve value through service model design.


Sonia’ background is in physiotherapy where she worked clinically in community paediatrics and in the Women’s and Newborn service line at RBWH. She has managed several innovative projects with a focus on allied health extended scope of practice. More recently her interest in data analytics and reporting has led her to a position in Business Intelligence development at Metro North HHS.

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