Grasping sustainability in rural and remote areas: A case study.

Johnstone M1, Huxley C2, FitzGerald G3

1The Department of Health Queensland, Funding Strategy and Intergovernmental Relations Branch, Level 9, 160 Mary Street, Brisbane, 4000, Melissa.Johnstone@health.qld.gov.au
2The Department of Health Queensland, Capital Infrastructure Delivery Unit, Level 5, ANZAC Square, Brisbane, 4000, Craig.Huxley@health.qld.gov.au
3Queensland University of Technology, School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, QUT Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, 4059, gj.fitzgerald@qut.edu.au

Aims and Objectives

An exploratory case study of a commercial, multidisciplinary organisation operating in 25+ locations was undertaken in two phases. A summary of phase 1 was presented at the National Allied Health Conference in 2015. The topic of this presentation is phase 2 which aimed to validate the findings from phase 1, and further explore the five key components found to impact sustainability: business, staff, work, environment and leadership.

Methods

All staff were invited to partake in an online questionnaire. Twenty employees (43.5%), whose roles included clinicians, managers, co-ordinators, receptionists and administration support with ages ranging from ‘<20’ to ‘51-60’ participated. All questions were generated as a result of phase 1; each one represented a broad category impacting sustainability. Response options were also generated following phase 1; free text was permitted to create new responses. Four of the five key questions asked respondents to rank their preferences, whilst one question asked them to ‘select all responses that apply’. Collated data was exported into a spreadsheet and a score for each response was generated. The popularity of each response was analysed, as well as the cross-over of answers relating to different aspects of the organisation’s model.

Results

Of the 66+ possible responses for the five key questions, six responses surfaced repeatedly. These included: income generation from multiple sources; multidisciplinary care provision; autonomy/independence; flexibility; community-tailored services; and relationships with key stakeholders.

Biography

Melissa began her career as a biomedical scientist, working in laboratories in Melbourne, Brisbane and the U.K. In 2011 her area of interest shifted to public health, and health service management – the focus of her Master’s degree. Melissa worked at Health Workforce Queensland in the Health Services Development for 4 years, and has recently joined Department of Health, Queensland.  Her primary interest is in allied health business models and service delivery sustainability.