A new doctor-hospital partnership aims to improve access to specialists


The initiative will provide patients with direct on-site access to leading non-generalist specialists, making referral and follow-up more efficient.

Jupiter Health co-founder Dr Michael Gendy (left) and Mount Hospital CEO Reza Barzegari (right) praised the partnership to make access to care more efficient. (Image: supplied)

From the moment a general practitioner refers a patient to the care of a non-general practitioner, it can take months to get an appointment, with much longer wait times outside major cities.

In Western Australia, depending on the disease, it can take up to nine months to get your foot in the door.

But a new doctor-hospital partnership seeks to reduce wait times and overcome barriers to access.

In what is hailed as a healthcare first, West Australian GP group Jupiter Health and Medical Services has partnered with Mount Hospital to give patients direct on-site access to non-specialist specialists. generalists.

Under the new agreement, specialists and surgeons from eight disciplines, including orthopedics, cardiology, bariatrics and vascular medicine, will consult at five of Jupiter Health’s locations, including Perth CBD, Harvest Lakes and Madeley, as well as ‘Alkimos and Singleton.

All required procedures will then be performed at Mount Hospital.

Jupiter Health Co-Founder and Health Director General Practitioner Dr Michael Gendy said gp news the partnership has been running for almost a year now and aims to provide the best service to patients.

“The main part was to cut all the red tape and paperwork,” he said.

“So general practitioners will be able to refer and then take care of the patient directly. “

Dr Gendy said there are cases where patients are referred to a non-generalist specialist, only to find out after months of waiting for an appointment that their case is inoperable, and the best course of action is a management plan organized in collaboration with their general practitioner. .

“We are therefore trying to minimize the waiting time for the preoperative decision, with better communication between the general practitioner, the surgeon and the hospital,” he said.

Reza Barzegari, who is the chief executive of Mount Hospital, says he envisions the process to be “highly collaborative”, with GPs to have access to their clinic’s roster of specialists.

“Not only will general practitioners’ access to specialists be improved, it will also allow them to manage patient bookings to ensure that those who need to see a specialist can be booked to do so during their visit to the doctor. general practitioner, “he said. gp news.

“Patients can also be booked for future appointments at the same location or at a partner facility close to [a] patient’s home.

By ensuring that access to care is both convenient and efficient, Barzegari believes this will have a flow effect on clinicians, who will be able to offer patients a “more holistic episode of care”.

“For our general practitioners, not only will they be able to offer [a] better care pathway for patients, they will also be able to have better access to specialists in person or on [the] phone and establish better collaborative partnerships in the care of their patients, ”he said.

While many healthcare workers have focused on the pandemic, Australia’s aging population means that chronic diseases are simultaneously on the rise, making the work undertaken by general practitioners increasingly complex.

Dr. Gendy sees the partnership as a way to support this transition and help physicians ensure continuity of care.

“It’s all about time management,” he said.

“The older you get, the more chronic diseases you get, the more intervention you need. Thus, the easier and faster the access to the specialist, the better the follow-up.

“We know from experience that with follow-up, the sooner you start with a good discount, the better the outcome – and that’s the plan. “

Meanwhile, Dr Gendy also sees the model as a possible solution to the growing disparity in access to care between metropolitan and regional areas across the country.

With two of Jupiter Health’s practices in regional areas included in the partnership, he believes it will improve inequalities.

“We have a few practices in the regional areas and it is always difficult to get access to a specialist,” he said.

“So once we have the specialists in our rooms… we will be able to care for our regional patients in the same way and with the same quality that we do in metro and outside metro practices. “

Although the model is only tested in certain practices, Dr Gendy and Mr Barzegari agree that if it proves effective, it could be applied elsewhere – including real benefits for the public system.

“We always stress the importance of general medicine and we believe there is a lack of communication between specialists and general medicine, both in private and in public,” said Dr Gendy.

“It’s easier to test this through the private system than, of course, to go through all the paperwork to do it through the public system.

“But once we’ve tried it out and found it to work well, it would be an amazing example to apply to the rest of Australia.”

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