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Otago: Integrated Medical Centre one−stop−shop

Integrated Medical Centre one−stop−shop model available for Otago

GP practices throughout Otago now have the opportunity to develop one−stop−shop premises that can boost their businesses, provide opportunities for professionals to upskill; and extend and improve the health status of local populations.

The unique one−stop−shop model has been developed for the Otago District Health Board (ODHB) by Auckland-based Lifecare Solutions, for use throughout Otago and New Zealand. It provides an opportunity for Primary Healthcare Organisations (PHOs) and GP practices to make both healthcare and commercial gains through consolidating and integrating a range of existing services and to introduce new services to a region.

Plans are underway to develop the first one−stop−shops in Alexandra and Wanaka.

Lifecare Solutions director and project manager for the Integrated Medical Centre Project Terry Coombs, told the ODHB that the model analyses a grouping together of GP practices in an area under the PHO structure and illustrates the options and benefits that can be derived in co-locating GP practices and associated primary care providers, such as pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dentists etc...

“Basically, it involves a mindshift from GP practices and other health providers working as individual businesses, to a group of businesses working together and leveraging off each other for better health and financial outcomes,” said Mr Coombs.

“We are working with the Wanaka group to validate the model, ensure it is robust and includes all the necessary variables. We could then input particular data for any practice(s) considering collocation or relocation.

“The Wanaka discussions and options are still in the analysis stage and no decisions have been reached by the practices. However they see the model as an excellent tool that can assist in the decision making process.”

Mr Coombs said a presentation to Dunedin GPs last week had resulted in at least five practices wishing to input data from their practices into the model to assess its potential for them.

He told the ODHB that the model met key business feasibility criteria in terms of staffing numbers, facility sizing, capital development cost and operating costs relative to those of the practice and the population.

“The model will provide the foundation of a bankable business plan for GPs looking to benefit from providing extended services through consolidation and relocation,” he said.

Mr Coombs outlined the key reasons for GP practices to consolidate.

These included developing a one−stop−shop that was easily accessible for patients; harnessing the opportunities for GPs to grow larger market segment through co-location with pharmacies, x -ray, lab, dental, physiotherapy, DHB and private specialist services.

The one−stop−shop would provide a better working environment to attract staff; allow practices the opportunity to contract practice staff; introduce screening programmes such as breast screening, diabetes and education programmes; establish a satellite for the DHB to operate from (eg District nurses, midwives, public health nurses etc).

It would also support other initiatives for example an ACC Return to Work programme; the provision of a nurse telephone triage service; the provision of occupational health services to commerce and industry, and the focus to work with the community to promote wellness programmes.

Mr Coombs said the end result would be more free time and flexibility for the practice professionals; more income for the business; development of valuable and marketable business entity.

He said the model was applicable to all GP practices.

The new initiative in primary healthcare delivery received a positive response from board members at a recent ODHB meeting.

ODHB Chief Executive Brian Rousseau said it was recognised that the Integrated Medical Centre model would not suit everyone and there might be some GPs who preferred to operate individually.

“However this is about providing options for better health care, better economies of scale and opportunities for wealth creation for health professionals,” he said.

Lifecare Solutions (LCS) Limited has offices in Mt Maunganui and Auckland and has over $150 million worth of projects currently under its belt. It is regarded as a leader in design and project management for the retirement lifestyle and healthcare sectors in New Zealand.

LCS is currently working on such prestigious projects as Dunstan Hospital in Central Otago, Althorp Village, a 260 residential retirement unit development in Tauranga, and the $50 million Papamoa Beach 160-unit retirement development near Tauranga.

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