A Realist Case Study of a Regional Hospital’s Response to Improve Emergency Department Access in the Context of Australian Health Care Reforms

Sandeep Reddy, Timothy A. Carey, John Wakerman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Introduction: Major health-care reforms have extended across all Australian public hospitals in recent years. Improving emergency department (ED) access has been a focus of these reforms. Objective: This study evaluates how the national reforms have led to improvement in ED access in a regional hospital in remote Australia. Methods: Assessing a complex scenario such as national reforms and the challenges faced by the regional hospital to implement these reforms requires in-depth analysis. A realist evaluation theory-based approach was employed, allowing investigation of what, how, why, and for whom change occurred. A case study mixed methods design was adopted within the realist framework to answer these questions about change. Results and Conclusion: The study identified moderate improvement in ED access as a result of the reforms (investment in infrastructure and workforce and the introduction of ED targets). Clinical leadership and support from management were essential for the improvement. Without ongoing investment and clinical redesign activities, however, sustainability of the improvement may prove difficult.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalHealth Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology
    Volume3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2016

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