Building the evidence base for allied health in the ‘real world’

Building the evidence base for allied health in the ‘real world’ Conference Paper

15th National Rural Health Conference: Better together!

  • Author(s): Battye, Kristine, Sefton, Cath, Davis, Scott, Curry, Rob
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2019

Abstract: The published evidence for allied health interventions and services is limited, particularly in relation to service models and models of care in rural and remote Australia. Furthermore, there is limited published research or evidence of the effectiveness of various workforce strategies, including cost effectiveness for rural and remote Allied Health. It is likely that much of the evidence, particularly around workforce and service models sits in the grey literature and/or in ‘local intelligence’ of what works (or not). A recent report by The International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, June 2018, prepared in response to the review of MBS items highlights a similar paucity of evidence of the impact of allied health services across the sector, not just in relation to rural and remote service delivery. Traditional notions of evidence hinge on scientifically controlled research studies with a focus on measurement of intervention effect, reliability and replicability. Such studies have been and continue to be undertaken in relation to allied health interventions, predominantly in acute settings. However most allied health services in Australia are provided outside acute clinical settings and increasingly the evidence being sought is not about specific interventions per se, but rather about the impact of allied health services in ‘real world’ environments. A forum of researchers, education providers, rural workforce agencies, allied health, other health care service providers and policy makers, convened by SARRAH identified opportunities to build the evidence base for allied health in the real world. Examples include: linking with PHNs to co-design and evaluate models of care and service delivery strategies where allied health is a component of the multidisciplinary team; identifying and evaluating emergent models of allied health intervention; establishing partnerships with rural and remote NDIS service providers to analyse model and workforce requirements; identifying private practice models in rural and regional areas and determine key ingredients for viability; documenting case studies of service providers around Communities of Practice for priority areas e.g. NDIS, aged care, solo practitioner models; establishing and evaluating service learning models in rural and remote locations to determine impact on service capacity, learning outcomes for allied health students and early career health professionals, perceptions of remote practice. While allied health peak bodies have a role in building the evidence base in rural and remote Australia, the need for improving evidence collection, analysis and dissemination is common across the allied health sector and requires a coordinated and collaborative approach.

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Suggested Citation
Battye, Kristine, Sefton, Cath, Davis, Scott, Curry, Rob, 2019, Building the evidence base for allied health in the ‘real world’, Conference Paper, viewed 15 June 2024,

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