Connecting changemakers to improve navigating health

Navigating health and related systems like disability and aged care can be difficult, experts say less complex and person-centred pathways are needed nationally.

Federal politicians, patients, health professionals and academics from across Australia are working together to improve ways of navigating the Australian health system at an event at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Navigating health and related systems like disability and aged care can be difficult, and experts agree that less complex and person-centred pathways are needed at a national level. Experts say most Australians are not aware of these complexities until they experience a health challenge and find themselves at their most vulnerable within a system they neither understand nor feel empowered by.

To focus on these issues, the Parliamentary Friends of Women's Health group are hosting the #Navigating Health session in Canberra today.

University of Melbourne Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor Jane Gunn, will address the session to discuss how research can and should be translated into health system reforms for the benefit of society.

“As patients, parents, and carers, we all know it can seem overwhelming at times to navigate the health system,” Professor Gunn said.

“Universities play an important role by providing the evidence base and translational capability to ensure that the very best science makes an impact and transforms health systems.

“But currently the pace at which evidence is translated into practice and policy is too slow, and we need to change this.” Professor Gunn said.

Nossal Institute of Global Health Navigating Health Project Lead Ms Siân Slade said the opportunity to discuss patient-centred systems is critical.

“Access can be difficult for patients, and pathways to managing healthcare needs are often fragmented,” Ms Slade said.

“We need to effectively build capacity and capability to operationalise a culture change in health. Using the skills, knowledge and experience of patients, carers and the health professionals enables a shared approach to tackling complex problems. We all have a role to play.”

The Australian Women’s Health Parliamentary Friends Group is co-chaired by Peta Murphy MP and Bridget Archer MP.

#Navigating Health commenced as a national project in 2021 to connect changemakers, break down silos, and facilitate collaboration on critical issues within the health system.

This national collaboration has now extended internationally, to include organisations including the American Cancer Society in the USA and the NHS in the UK.