Melbourne Obesity Masterclass
Riddle: what does a cardiologist, renal physician, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, oncologist, rheumatologist, respiratory physician, gastroenterologist/hepatologist and gynaecologist share in common?
Answer: Patients living with obesity.
It was encouraging to see health care professionals (HCPs) from most of these disciplines attend an obesity masterclass recently held in Melbourne.
For those who did not attend, the key take home messages from this masterclass were:
It is felt that coordination in community is fractured; each discipline works hard in their key areas to help the patient (i.e. working in silos) however there is minimal/ limited communication and subsequent collaboration between the disciplines.
At present there is no incentive to coordinate care (especially with state &federal government funding); however in this fractured system, a fragile high-risk patient might slip through the net, which is undesirable.
Perhaps there are lessons we can learn from our peers overseas; we obviously all need to be on the same page with bidirectional communication, with the patient in the centre of it all. However the patients will require the GPs assistance to help keep on-top of everything, and coordinate care, especially given the spectrum of varying degrees of healthy literacy and self-efficacy amongst patients.
How do we navigate this in our complex Australian healthcare system?
Some would argue that the problem with care plansis that they are process driven. Just because one is generated, it doesn’t mean that it was actioned nor that the patient derived health benefit from it. There was a strong feeling amongst HCPs that there should be a shift in focus, away from process and towards clinical outcomes as the main driver.
Hopefully the patient electronic health record will evolve to be what HCPs and patients want and need it to be: an up to date repository of health information, where changes are instantly seen and available. The next step would be to have available decision-making tools which are sophisticated and can extract the necessary information from the patient electronic health record.
Technology is always changing and evolving; perhaps we need to embrace and make it work for “us” as HCPs, which will have a ripple effect in that it will consequently work for the patient.