Scoping review of Australian evaluations of healthcare delivery models: Are we making the most of the evidence?

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Objective Healthcare delivery models describe the organisation of healthcare practitioners and other resources to provide health care for a defined patient population. The organisation of health care has a predominant effect on the receipt of timely and appropriate health care. Efforts to improve healthcare delivery should be evidence informed, and large numbers of evaluations of healthcare delivery models have been undertaken. This paper presents a scoping review of Australian evaluations of new healthcare delivery models to inform a discussion of the appropriate use of such evidence to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the Australian health system.
Methods A systematic scoping review was undertaken, following an a priori published protocol. PubMed, Embase and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) were searched for primary comparative studies of healthcare delivery models undertaken in Australia and published between 2009 and 2018. Primary prevention studies, such as health promotion activities, were excluded.
Results Of 14 923 citations, 636 studies were included in the scoping review. Of these, 383 (60%) were randomised control trials. There were 18 clinical specialties in which over 10 evaluations were identified. Most models involved allied health practitioners or nurses.
Conclusion Evaluations of healthcare delivery models provide important evidence that can be used to improve the use of the most important and costly assets of health systems, namely the healthcare practitioners who deliver health care. A nationally coordinated system is required to support local health services to assess the local value of alternative healthcare delivery models.
What is known about the topic? The organisation and delivery of health care is continuously evolving in response to changes in the demand and supply of health care. New healthcare delivery models are often evaluated in specific locations, but it is not clear how such evidence informs the delivery of care in other locations.
What does this paper add? This paper reports the findings of a scoping review of Australian evaluations of healthcare delivery models, highlighting the large and increasing number of such evaluations that have been published in the past 10 years.
What are the implications for practitioners? Opportunities to improve health system efficiency are likely being lost due to the underuse of the available Australian evidence on new healthcare delivery models. Local health services need support to interpret such evidence in their local context, which could be provided through the development of a national framework for local evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-562
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • healthcare delivery models
  • Australian evaluations


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