Challenges and Opportunities for Disinvestment in Australia: A need to evaluate the implementation and impact of Choosing Wisely in Australia
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Purpose – Worldwide, there is significant growth in the cost of (and demand for) healthcare, which often clashes with a requirement to contain expenditure. This duality leads to an increasing need for a systematic approach to disinvestment in health technologies. The purpose of this paper is to consider the challenges and opportunities for disinvestment policy decisions in Australia. It discusses the implementation of the Choosing Wisely campaign and the need for rigorous evaluation of such campaigns in the Australian healthcare system. Design/methodology/approach – The authors highlight characteristics of disinvestment: what it is and what it is not and discuss international examples of identifying low value care, including the recent Choosing Wisely initiative. The authors discuss the barriers to implementing initiatives such as Choosing Wisely and the complexities in evaluating their effectiveness. Findings – While the primary purpose of the Choosing Wisely campaign is improved decision making through clinical engagement, it is expected that implementation could lead to resource savings alongside improvements in patient safety and service quality. While there is research looking to understand the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of initiatives such as Choosing Wisely, little is known about broader patient impacts, and more attention on the quantification of their effect on both patient outcomes and resource use is needed. Originality/value – This work highlights the limited knowledge around implementation of disinvestment strategies and the paucity of research around the impact of strategies such as Choosing Wisely in the Australian public hospital system. This is important as future research in this area will give greater certainty about the benefits and consequences of Choosing Wisely leading to improved opportunities for resource savings and patient safety and quality.
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