Engaging Allied Health in a Community-based Health Needs Assessment

Ms Katherine Carleton-Eagleton1, Ms Kim Phuong Dao1, Ms Louise Ryan1

1Capital Health Network – ACT Primary Health Network, Deakin, Australia

As part of the Primary Health Network (PHN) Commissioning Framework, the Needs Assessment process allows PHNs to explore and understand the health and service needs of their local community. There are seven priority areas for PHNs as predetermined by the Department of Health, such as mental health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, population health and health workforce. The Needs Assessment ultimately informs priorities for planning, opportunities for innovation and collaboration, as well as shaping the activities under each identified priority.

Despite the important contribution allied health professionals make to each of the health priorities, to date, as the ACT’s PHN, the Capital Health Network (CHN) has had minimal engagement with allied health service providers in the ACT throughout the Needs Assessment processes. This has been identified as a gap in the process which may potentially lead to an incomplete picture of the health and service needs of local community members – particularly in a primary care setting.

As part of a new approach to the Needs Assessment for 2021, CHN have developed a framework to guide and inform data collection processes for both the community and health sector. Guided by an external working group, as well as CHN’s Advisory Councils, engagement with allied health professionals will be a core component of this. As such, the contribution, experiences and perceptions of health care needs through the lens of allied health professionals are captured and contribute to a more holistic understanding of the health and service needs of the ACT community.


Kim has a background in public health, and research interests in health promotion, early prevention, system integration and digital health. Her work at the Capital Health Network – ACT’s PHN mainly focuses on Community-based Health Needs Assessment, which looks at the health needs, service gaps and emerging opportunities to support Canberrans better manage their health and well-being in the community and primary care space. One particular interest that Kim looks at in the Health Needs Assessment is care across continuum, which revolves around care coordination, collaboration, and communication among health professionals from different disciplines in the care for their patients.

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