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Innovative Models Promoting Access-to-Care Transformation (IMPACT) Centre of Research Excellence

Globally, Primary Health Care (PHC) is recognised as central to improving health for all, yet vulnerable groups still find it difficult to access care. IMPACT is a Canadian-Australian collaboration which brings together leading researchers in primary care, health services research and implementation science together with communities of practice in six regions in Australia and Canada to identify, refine and then trial ‘world’s best practice’ innovations to assist access, particularly for vulnerable populations.

The IMPACT (Australia) study is now in its final year of operation (2018). During this time the study team will be closing off data collection and undertaking data analysis and the development of research outputs.

The IMPACT Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) was established in October 2013 as a collaboration between Australia and Canada. It is supported through a $5 million dollar program of joint funding from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

ENDURE GP: Establishing and normalising durable relationships with GPs

Funding for the ENDURE GP project was awarded by the Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF) in December 2017 to improve access to continuing, appropriate primary healthcare for vulnerable populations.

ENDURE GP is being run in the Victorian (South East Melbourne) region as an extension to the IMPACT project. IMPACT’s Victorian Partnership comprises representatives from the City of Greater Dandenong Council, Monash Health, the Victorian Government, enliven (the regional Primary Care Partnership), and from various organisational units within Monash University. The partnership has been working together since 2014.

Following community consultation, the region implemented a trial of an intervention that uses a health broker to link vulnerable community members who are lacking access to a GP appropriate to their needs. Patients have been recruited from the City of Greater Dandenong’s Home and Community Care Program, the Integrated Community Health Team of Monash Health Community and Monash Health Dental Services.

We have learned over the past 6 months that the quality of the affiliation with primary care is the core issue in the region, rather than its presence or absence. So while still measuring the impact of the broker intervention, we will be examining self-reported experience of access to general practice care of a cohort of vulnerable patients attending Monash Health services. We will also explore the relationship between patient access to general practice care and healthcare utilisation, in particular use of the emergency department.

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