A common vision: processes supporting regional eye care collaboration

A common vision: processes supporting regional eye care collaboration Conference Paper

14th National Rural Health Conference: A World of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Tatipata, S, Morse, A
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: National Rural Health Alliance

Abstract: Background: Eye care is but one of the many specialist health care services provided within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and remote community health centres. Achieving positive eye care outcomes for these visiting services requires pro-active collaboration and two-way learning. Gaining and maintaining this stakeholder engagement can be challenging, but is a fundamental aspect of health system strengthening. Aim: To support eye care improvements in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, two Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have been working together over four years to strengthen links and facilitate regional collaboration. This presentation shall identify processes that were constructive. Methods: Upon feedback from the ACCHS, and observation of coordination challenges, key stakeholders articulated the need for intentional work to support collaboration. This information was considered: regional service mapping service delivery data available coordination workforce service gaps performance of the system patient and community perspectives. The regional eye care system was strengthened by: increasing services addressing gaps in the local and regional eye health coordination workforce continuous quality improvement (both service and system level) developing a work plan with stakeholders training in eye care checks and referral pathways. Results: Eye care service delivery and access increased and patient pathways improved. Stronger relationships developed, communication strengthened and engagement with eye care by ACCHS increased. This system-level improvement was also noted as a positive trend in stakeholder-rated performance, gauged via an Eye Care Systems Assessment. Discussion: Improved coordination, integration and strategic alignment of projects was achieved using participatory methods. Taking a strengths-based approach, the various challenges for eye care (e.g. competing health priorities, accessing data, waiting lists, patient access barriers) were viewed as opportunities for improvement that were achievable by working together. A shared work plan articulated the “common vision”, prioritised activities, set targets, and listed responsibilities. This was developed following structured conversation which invited individual perspectives then considered these in light of the broader stakeholder perspective. Helpful processes included an Eye Care Systems Assessment, focus-group guided enquiry, a polling process called ‘dotocracy’, and critical reflection. Importantly, these structured approaches happened on an existing platform of collaboration and trust between the stakeholders. Relevance and conclusion: Celebrating achievements, embracing challenges and engaging widely were important aspects. The approach and tools are potentially helpful to apply in other regions, not only for eye care but for other specialty areas that must integrate with primary and tertiary care to achieve outcomes.

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Suggested Citation
Tatipata, S, Morse, A, 2017, A common vision: processes supporting regional eye care collaboration, Conference Paper, viewed 16 October 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=12084.

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