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Best-practice integrated health care governance – applying evidence to Australia’s health reform agenda

Is Australia ready for evidence into policy?

When you run on your own you run fast, when you run together you run far. (Proverb)

Internationally, health reform initiatives have identified improved integration between community and acute care delivery as key to sustainability.1,2 Australian reform initiatives have been no exception. In 2009, Australia’s National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission laid the “blueprint” for Australia’s health care future.3 It stressed the importance of “connecting and integrating health and aged care services for people over their lives”. However, it also observed that “each level of government formulates policy in relation to its own responsibilities, not necessarily taking account of the health system as a whole”, and that “current governance arrangements are contributing directly to weaknesses in the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the Australian health system”.3

Three years later, the National Healthcare Agreement 2012 committed all federal, state and territory governments to support an integrated approach to the promotion of healthy lifestyle, and prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness…