We work closely with consumers to promote positive health outcomes. We use the definition of consumer participation outlined in the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services, Doing it with us not for us: Strategic Direction 2010-2013 and the Cultural Responsiveness Framework (2009).
‘…when consumers, carers and community members are meaningfully involved in decision-making about health policy and planning, care and treatment, and the wellbeing of themselves and the community…’
We also expand this definition to include consumers in the process of designing and delivering health services.
The way health services are delivered is now changing. New policies and regulations at state and national level mean there is more focus on consumer participation (National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 2 Partnering with Consumers and Better Care Victoria Consumer Engagement Strategy).
There are three main ways consumers can be involved in healthcare:
- Direct care level – consumers take part in their own healthcare and treatment, and that of their family and carers. Health services should support consumers to be equal partners in their care.
- Service level – consumers take part in the design of healthcare services, the way services are delivered and in quality improvement projects. Health professionals and services should partner with consumers in making decisions about the care they receive.
- System level – consumers take part in quality and safety improvement activities across the wider healthcare system. Healthcare organisations should partner with consumers in governance, planning, and policy development to co-design and drive improvement in performance monitoring and evaluation.
To help us work out the best way to involve consumers, we held a Consumer Advisor Forum in May 2018. Representatives from community health services, hospitals, mental health services and consumer groups and networks attended. For more detail on the forum please download the Forum Report.
The Consumer Adviser Forum recommended the establishment of a Consumer Engagement Network (CEN) as an SMPCP Working Group with two constituent groups:
- Consumer Participation Coordinators
All recommendations from the forum can be accessed by downloading the Discussion Paper and Recommendations.