Measuring the quality of allied health services in Australia: is it a case of “the more we learn, the less we know?”
Karen Grimmer-Somers, Steve Milanese, Saravana Kumar
International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE), University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, Australia
Background: Sensitive and reliable measurement of allied health (AH) service quality is in its infancy. This is largely related to the complexity of the AH discipline-mix, the services these disciplines provide, and the locations in which services are provided. AH is variably described, with up to 49 disciplines being listed in the literature. These disciplines often undertake a range of interlinked activities such as assessment and diagnosis, counseling, therapy and rehabilitation, manufacture, education, and service organization. AH disciplines work in a range of roles in a range of public and private sector organizations, and often consult with their patients/clients a number of times for the management of one condition. They operate under a variety of funding models, and often within service delivery constraints. This evidence-informed analytical review outlines factors which should be considered by allied health leaders, reflecting clinicians, policy-makers, managers, and academics, in regards to making an informed choice of sensitive and reliable measures of AH service quality. Strong, visionary, and collaborative leadership is required to ensure that allied health activities and outcomes are measured and reported effectively and efficiently.
Keywords: allied health (AH), sensitive, reliable measures, health service quality
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