Consumer input into health policies and programs is essential to ensure that our health system can move away from its current provider-centred structure towards a more consumer-focussed approach.
There are many ways in which consumers can become involved in the development of health policies and programs, such as providing submissions into inquiries or sitting on committees and advisory panels. These all play an important role but often require a significant commitment of time and effort from individual consumers.
Paradoxically, this can often exclude those most impacted by illness and disability and means that many important consumer voices are not heard by policy makers and governments.
Australia’s Health Panel, was established by the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) to obtain broad input from the community on key health issues. It provides a simple, flexible and accessible mechanism for consumers to communicate their views and experiences.
By participating in Australia’s Health Panel, consumers can directly influence the advocacy work undertaken by CHF and have input into government policy and program development processes.
CHF’s CEO Leanne Wells provides more detail below.
Leanne Wells writes:
The bushfires ravaging Australia are taking our environmental health challenges into uncertain territory, making it more vital that we are kept up to date about the health consequences and for there to be a proactive, comprehensive plan for prevention and management.
Today Australia’s Health Panel is basing its first survey of the year on the issue of health and climate impact in order to gauge community thinking and concerns.
Australia’s health panel
The Consumers Health Forum has established Australia’s Health Panel to take the pulse of Australian opinions on contemporary health issues. These responses to the survey help us not only to keep our supporters aware of community attitudes but also to influence the policies we take to government.
Advocating for consumer needs and concerns is central to CHF’s work so your responses are important for decision-makers in government and health administration to hear.
The Consumers Health Forum was established 33 years ago to put forward the consumers’ concerns and interests in health care.
Given the cost, complexity and rapid advances in health care, the value and need for consumers to be involved in decision-making is more important than ever.
A wide variety of issues
The range of topics covered since Australia’s Health Panel began surveys 18 months ago illustrates the wide variety issues that confront health policy.
Our first survey for instance explored implications for the use of increasingly prevalent health apps and found the vast majority of respondents want stronger regulation of health apps.
Since then Australia’s Health Panel has conducted surveys on subjects including the Federal Election (showing health care costs were voters’ biggest health concern), Consumer Medicine Information leaflets (more than a third received no information or leaflet about medicine), My Health Record (showing low utilisation ), and shared decision-making (suggesting people believe doctors should more actively engage in shared decision-making with their patients).
All of these responses in some way, have, or can be expected to have, influence over the Australia’s health care.
Consumers are assuming a growing role in health care. Here is your chance to join the trend.
Sign on to Australia’s Health Panel here.