The establishment of primary health networks.
- Medicare Locals
- Primary health care, strategy, system design, population health, project management
In 2014 the Department of Health announced the closure of Medicare Locals and the establishment of Primary Health Networks (PHNs). This signaled a significant change to the Australian primary care landscape and the shift to a commissioning model of service supply. We were tasked to work in partnership with the Medicare Locals and other key stakeholders on the strategic design, writing and project support for several successful PHN tenders.
The PHN organisational framework represents new types of collaboration across health service and provider networks. We supported the development of a strong, sustainable collaboration between key stakeholders to co-design a successful PHN tender response, resulting in the PHN Design Partnership.
This partnership included the Medicare Locals, the Local Health Districts and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. To help define the purpose, role, function structures and processes of the new organisations, we drew on a formal design method, the Viable Systems Model (VSM). This model was a great example of how alliances, partnerships and collaboration can be designed in their local context.
We continue to support PHNs to develop tools to help map out the ‘results pathway’ with stakeholders to achieve collaborative engagement, thinking and action. For example, we work alongside the Sydney North Health Network’s executive leadership team to support the smooth merger of two Medicare Locals and establishment of the new PHN entity.