Health

Australia’s health care system is among the best in the world. But not all Australians experience the same health outcomes. Life expectancy remains lower for Indigenous people, and people from low socioeconomic, regional and remote communities generally experience poorer health outcomes. Also, the demands on the health system are growing with the ageing population, increased rates of chronic and preventable diseases, availability of new treatments, and rising costs.

Governments support access to primary care, hospitals and pharmaceuticals for people who experience illness or injury, and set quality and performance standards. They also focus on health promotion and disease prevention, particularly around lifestyle-related issues that cause chronic disease.

Prevention strategies include campaigns through traditional and social media to promote healthy eating and active living, smoking cessation, sun protection, and regular check-ups for conditions like breast cancer. For health service delivery there has been a focus on strategies to reduce emergency department and elective surgery waiting times, strengthen the primary care system, enhance service coordination and integration, and ensure sustainability.


Project examples

Click on any of the following projects for more information.

Rural Generalist Nurse Program Evaluation

(Health and Training Institute, 2017)

Rural Generalist Nurse Program Evaluation

(Health and Training Institute, 2017)

The Rural Generalist Nurse Program (RGNP) is a new training program for generalist nurses working in rural and remote health services. It comprises of five separate elements, including online eLearning modules and learning pathways. In 2016 ARTD, contracted by the Health and Training Institute (HETI), developed an evaluation framework for the program and a plan for a process evaluation of the RGNP. ARTD is currently in the process of completing the work outlined in the evaluation plan. The methods of data collection being used to achieve this outcome involve an analysis of administration data, interviews, surveys and focus groups. ARTD is also offering the option of assistance in analysing data collected via HETI online for when HETI has time restraints. Findings and recommendations will inform the decision making about the future rollout and direction of the RGNP program. 

Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Staff Survey

(Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, 2017)

Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Staff Survey

(Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, 2017)

ACHS is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to high quality health care standards.  The ACHS is a leading assessment and accreditation provider and represents governments, consumers and peak health bodies throughout Australia. ARTD has worked with the ACHS since 2009 to measure satisfaction and engagement among its staff. The 2017 survey included all 46 staff and achieved an 85 percent response rate. The findings were reported by work unit and benchmarked against previous staff surveys. The survey has been an instrumental part in ACHS’ aim to provide a safe and engaging workplace, and has shown that specific actions taken by ACHS in response to previous findings have led to significant improvements.

Evaluation of Save-a-Mate NSW

(Australian Red Cross, 2016)

Evaluation of Save-a-Mate NSW

(Australian Red Cross, 2016)

Save-a-mate is an alcohol and other drugs education program for people aged 12–25 years that equips them with the knowledge to prevent, recognise and respond to alcohol and other drug emergencies through a harm reduction framework guided by the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015. The program has three main components: education and training initiatives, support services at festivals and events, and health promotion and advocacy. ARTD was engaged by the Australian Red Cross to assess the current relevance and effectiveness of the program. A mixed methods approach was used to evaluate the program, including online surveys of trainers, youth volunteers and referring partner organisations. We also interviewed representatives from NSW Health, a first aid provider and a festival promoter. The findings helped ARC identify opportunities for ongoing development of SAM to meet community needs in the changing context of health service delivery and promotion at a state level.

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program Evaluation Framework

(Transport for NSW, 2015)

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program Evaluation Framework

(Transport for NSW, 2015)

The NSW Government legislated that serious and repeat drink drive offenders be ordered to place an alcohol interlock device on their family or work vehicles. This is a complex multi-component program being delivered in partnership by Transport for NSW, Roads and Maritime Services, police, courts and general practitioners. ARTD designed the evaluation framework to guide future evaluation studies and identify the performance information needed to regularly monitor the effectiveness of delivery, take-up and drop-out rates and the impact of the program on repeat drink driving rates in NSW.

Evaluation of the NSW Government

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2015)

Evaluation of the NSW Government

(Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, 2015)

The Kings Cross Plan of Management includes a comprehensive set of measures introduced by the NSW Government in December 2012 and December 2013 to reduce alcohol related violence and improve safety and amenity in Kings Cross. ARTD evaluated the impact of these measures for the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing through analysis of data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, licensee compliance data, interviews with key stakeholders, survey of Kings Cross licensees, interviews with selected licensees, and surveys of Kings Cross residents and patrons of Kings Cross licenced venues. A final report synthesised the findings to provide conclusions about the impact of the Kings Cross Plan of Management.

Evaluation of BreastScreen Victoria Media Campaigns

(BreastScreen Victoria, 2012–2016)

Evaluation of BreastScreen Victoria Media Campaigns

(BreastScreen Victoria, 2012–2016)

From 2012–16 BreastScreen Victoria conducted many integrated communications campaigns with a large mass media component, aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of regular breast screens and encouraging women aged 50–74 years to receive a biennial breast screen. After having previously completed two evaluations, ARTD was recommissioned in 2015 to evaluate and compare campaign tranches, utilising existing data regarding their advertising campaigns whilst also analysing BreastScreen Victoria call centre data, website activity data, and booking and screening attendance data (including online bookings). Our findings reflected that the communications campaigns are successful in prompting women in the target groups to book and attend screening. ARTD’s recommendations have assisted BreastScreen Victoria in optimising future media campaigns.

Cystic Fibrosis Model of Care

(The Agency for Clinical Innovation ACI, 2015)

Cystic Fibrosis Model of Care

(The Agency for Clinical Innovation ACI, 2015)

The ACI commissioned ARTD Consultants to develop an evaluation framework and plan the tools for a newly developed Cystic Fibrosis Model of Care. The evaluation framework and plan was developed through a review of the draft Model of Care itself, and key literature in regards to the delivery of Cystic Fibrosis care in NSW. The framework and plan also drew on consultations with key stakeholders, including representatives from the ACI, the six Cystic Fibrosis Specialist Services located across NSW (and one satellite service), representatives from Cystic Fibrosis NSW and a consumer of Cystic Fibrosis services. The Evaluation Plan and Evaluation Tools will be used to evaluate the new Model of Care, once it is finalised and implemented across NSW.

Australian Government Water & Snow Safety Programmes

(Department of Health, 2015)

Australian Government Water & Snow Safety Programmes

(Department of Health, 2015)

ARTD undertook a review of two Australian Government water safety and one snow safety programme for the Department of Health. We gathered information for the review through a literature scan, scoping interviews with key informants and in-depth consultations with the funded organisations - Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, AUSTSWIM and the Australian Ski Patrol Association. The review also analysed documents provided by funded organisations and current reports on water safety and drownings and snow safety. We analysed all data collected, including a costing analysis, and prepared a report for the Government that included conclusions on the efficiency and effectiveness of programme delivery, value for money, and opportunities for increasing contestability. The report discussed future directions for the funding programme that could be considered by the Department of Health.

Stakeholder consultation for the Central Coast LHD Community Health Centre

(The Agency for Clinical Innovation, 2013-15)

Stakeholder consultation for the Central Coast LHD Community Health Centre

(The Agency for Clinical Innovation, 2013-15)

ARTD was initially commissioned by the Agency for Clinical Innovation to provide stakeholder consultation for a project they funded on the Central Coast. The successes of the first stage lead to a suite of high-level evaluation advice, data analysis and formative evaluation projects to inform a broader review of reforms to improve the efficiency of the Central Coast Community Health Service. We commenced with a baseline analysis of quantitative and qualitative data (surveys and focus groups) on stakeholder (clients, community health staff, allied health professionals and GPs) perceptions about referral pathways, communication systems, patient outcomes, barriers and success factors in the local service system. 

The second project was to analyse Community Health Occasions of Service and staffing levels across seven community health service types, and modelling and projections for Potentially Avoidable Hospitalisations using Activity Based Funding data. The third project, identified by the evaluation steering committee, was a formative evaluation of the introduction of a major IT reform designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the system. This included face-to-face interviews and site visits with all affected frontline staff and separate interviews with their managers. Post-intervention stakeholder consultations are planned for 2015. ARTD has worked closely with ACI on this project, providing consolidated reports to assist ACI to perform its broader monitoring and evaluation role for the Central Coast reform project.

Survey of Specialist Medical Colleges

(Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, 2014)

Survey of Specialist Medical Colleges

(Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, 2014)

The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards were developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare to improve the quality of health service provision in Australia. They provide a nationally consistent statement of the level of care consumers should expect from health service organisations. The Commission engaged ARTD to review curriculum documentation and survey the 15 Specialist Medical Colleges in Australia to assess the educational content in their postgraduate and continuing professional development programs relevant to the Standards. We conducted the survey online, inviting representatives from each College to take part. Our final report highlighted which Standards were and which were not well covered, and suggested ways to facilitate enhanced coverage.

Analysis of SunSmart Victoria's evaluation of their mass media campaigns

(Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2014)

Analysis of SunSmart Victoria's evaluation of their mass media campaigns

(Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2014)

ARTD undertook a meta-evaluation—an evaluation of evaluations—to assess the quality of three evaluations of Victorian SunSmart mass media campaigns conducted by Cancer Council Victoria in 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. We used descriptive analyses, based on the campaign reports and interviews with key informants and comparative analyses, based on comparison with published evaluations of sun protection campaigns from Australia and other countries, and also assessed using a scoring system based on The Program Evaluation Standards. The final report presented recommendations for the future design and conduct of campaign evaluations for consideration by VicHealth and the Victorian Department of Health.

Evaluation strategy for Camp Quality

(Camp Quality, 2014)

Evaluation strategy for Camp Quality

(Camp Quality, 2014)

In 2012, Camp Quality released its new strategic plan for 2012–2017, which makes a strong commitment to evaluation of both current and new programs. ARTD was commissioned to develop an overarching Evaluation Strategy to align with the Strategic Plan. Through workshops with staff and two rounds of consultation, ARTD developed an agreed Evaluation Strategy, comprising program logic models, an overarching evaluation framework, evaluation questions, priorities for evaluation, and an overall approach to evaluation activities and data collection to 2017. The Evaluation Strategy will help to focus evaluation efforts where they will be most effective and provide a framework and guide for developing more detailed program evaluation plans and implementing evaluations during the life of the Strategic Plan.

Evaluation framework for the Can Get Health project

(Sydney Local Health District and Inner West Sydney Medicare Local, 2014)

Evaluation framework for the Can Get Health project

(Sydney Local Health District and Inner West Sydney Medicare Local, 2014)

The Can Get Health project (Supporting the Canterbury Community) is jointly funded by Sydney Local Health District and Inner West Sydney Medicare Local, with academic support and advice from Australia’s Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at the University of New South Wales. It is an equity-focused project that aims to strengthen the capacity of the comprehensive primary health care system in Canterbury Local Government Area to contribute to reducing risk of inequity in health in the local population. ARTD was commissioned to develop an evaluation plan for the Can Get Health project, which comprised program logic models, an evaluation framework, and an outline of a plan to guide implementation of the evaluation by the Can Get Health team. 

Design of framework and strategy for and evaluation of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health

(Australian National Preventive Health Agency, 2014)

Design of framework and strategy for and evaluation of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health

(Australian National Preventive Health Agency, 2014)

The National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health (NPAPH) was a $973 million COAG funded reform to improve the health of Australians through Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments working in partnership to deliver healthy lifestyle programs, social marketing and enabling infrastructure. In 2012, ARTD, in partnership with the Prevention Research Collaboration, University of Sydney, developed an evaluation framework and strategy for the Agreement through three rounds of consultation with preventive health managers in the Commonwealth and State and Territory health departments, and stakeholders in peak organisations. All parties endorsed the framework and strategy, which provided a basis for the three-year national evaluation.

We were subsequently commissioned to undertake the evaluation, focusing primarily on the systems and processes of the partnership approach, within the broader context of the overall delivery of the NPAPH funded programs. In 2013, we successfully undertook the formative evaluation, which involved interviews with the Implementation Working Group, Healthies Steering Committee representatives and program managers in states and territories; a national evaluation forum to support evaluation of the NPAPH funded programs in states and territories; and an assessment of the partnership. We combined three methods for the partnership assessment—a partnership survey, cooperation assessment and social network analysis—to consider the partnership at all levels and provide a comprehensive understanding of how partnerships were working. The NPAPH was terminated in the 2014 Budget and the two remaining stages of the evaluation were cancelled.

Evaluation of the BreastScreen Victoria Integrated Communications Campaign

(BreastScreen Victoria, 2014)

Evaluation of the BreastScreen Victoria Integrated Communications Campaign

(BreastScreen Victoria, 2014)

The BreastScreen Victoria campaign consisted of three waves of advertising on television, radio and online between September 2012 and May 2013, alongside other media activities, events and work with campaign partners and stakeholders. ARTD conducted a post-hoc evaluation, bringing together a number of different data sources, to provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the campaign. Methods included: detailed analyses of BreastScreen Victoria data on calls, website activity, bookings and screens attended in the campaign year and previous years; review of documents on campaign development and reach; review of data collected after the first wave of advertising exploring campaign recall and impact on knowledge, attitudes and intentions; and stakeholder interviews. The evaluation findings provided evidence for decisions about the future use of integrated communication campaigns. ARTD have since evaluated further waves of the campaign in May and October 2014. 

Evaluation of alcohol education program for young people caught drinking

(NSW Police, 2013)

Evaluation of alcohol education program for young people caught drinking

(NSW Police, 2013)

The Your Choice program provides young people caught drinking and their parents the choice to attend an information session instead of paying a fine. The program aims to reduce dangerous drinking by raising young people’s awareness of strategies to avoid risks and challenging their perceptions of the prevalence and desirability of underage and heavy episodic drinking. It also aims to increase parents’ sense of responsibility for, and ability to act on, their child’s drinking. The program was introduced in 16 Police local areas commands (LACs) in 2009, and extended to 3 more. NSW Police developed a web-based alternative to address perceived inefficiencies and disincentives inherent in the face-to-face sessions for trial in six LACs in 2013. ARTD was engaged to evaluate the program using a mixed-method approach. We drew on monitoring data, Google analytics data, surveys and focus groups of participants, and consultation with police and health workers. Based on the evidence we provided, NSW Police are updating the program and rolling it out statewide. They are also using our report to inform interagency policy discussions about youth alcohol diversion.

Evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW

(Mental Health Kids, NSW Department of Health 2011-13)

Evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW

(Mental Health Kids, NSW Department of Health 2011-13)

The National Perinatal Depression Initiative 2008–13 aimed to improve the prevention and early detection of perinatal depression through screening, and to improve support for new and expectant mothers who are experiencing perinatal depression. ARTD conducted a two-year evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW to identify the factors that contribute to successful implementation of screening for depression and psychosocial risk among pregnant women and new mothers. The evaluation assessed the extent to which perinatal depression screening has been implemented in NSW Maternity Units and Child and Family Health Services. The focus of the assessment was: use of the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) and SAFE START psychosocial assessment questions; taking a multidisciplinary approach to supporting women identified as at risk; implementation of Multidisciplinary Case Discussion meetings; and coordinated care planning and follow-up to support vulnerable women.  We conducted an online survey of antenatal and child and family health teams implementing the screening across NSW, site visits to 16 antenatal and child and family health services, and interviews with key stakeholders and service providers. The findings were disseminated to stakeholders and used to review guidelines for screening for depression and psychosocial risk in NSW.

Baseline measures for population health research

(NSW Ministry of Health, 2012)

Baseline measures for population health research

(NSW Ministry of Health, 2012)

The NSW Ministry of Health Population Health Research Strategy (Promoting the generation and effective use of population health research in NSW: A strategy for NSW Health 2011–15) provides a framework for improving the quality of population health in NSW. ARTD was contracted to support implementation of the strategy by identifying research supported by the Population and Public Health Division during 2011/12 to establish a baseline for measuring progress with implementation and the outcomes achieved. ARTD developed an online survey portal to collect comprehensive information about the range and nature of population health research being undertaken by the Ministry. Completion of the portal was coordinated by the Directors of different units. ARTD also interviewed health directors to better understand the reasons certain research is being supported. The NSW Ministry of Health is planning to repeat the survey annually to track progress and outcomes and inform their investment in population health research.