School of Population Health

Prof Jonathan Karnon, Professor of Health Economics

In 2013-14, Australian governments spent A$105 billion on health; A$44 billion of that was on public hospitals.

The Commonwealth government is increasingly concerned with the size of the health budget and has acted to reduce the inappropriate use of Medicare benefits. But the Commonwealth government has less influence on public hospitals because the state and territory governments control their expenditure.

State governments are facing tighter budgets as demand for heath care increases due to an ageing population, greater rates of chronic disease and more service use generally.

The collection and analysis of data on the performance of our health-care system can be used to improve the quality of health services and maybe also reduce costs.

Read more in The Conversation

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Despite the relatively high prevalence of stillbirth, there is limited and sometimes conflicting evidence regarding practices by healthcare professionals caring for families that have experienced it, both in hospital and when parents return home. Some research also suggests that healthcare professionals are often ill-equipped to communicate with and provide meaningful and culturally appropriate care for families during such a tragic event.

In response to the lack of evidence-based guidance for healthcare staff regarding the best approach to caring for and supporting families experiencing stillbirth, a recent research project conducted by the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) and supported by the Stillbirth Foundation Australia has developed three professional guidance documents. The guidance has been endorsed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and has also been taken up and disseminated by other groups such as Beyond Blue and Family Included. This guidance was prepared using results from a comprehensive systematic review of the available international research which is available via the same link.

Providing support, being sensitive, empathetic, and validating parents’ emotions are essential features of meaningful care for families that have experienced stillbirth. Accurate and understandable information and collaborative decision-making throughout the experience of stillbirth is crucial, and can have a profound impact on parents’ experiences. Titled, ‘Provision of effective, meaningful and appropriate care for families who have experienced stillbirth’, the systematic review aimed to identify the best non-pharmacological, psychosocial supportive care for families to help parents cope with stillbirth. The research project located, assessed and synthesised the available evidence regarding how parents experienced care provided to them that aimed at improving their psychological well-being during and after a stillbirth.

A number of published and forthcoming journal publications have arisen from the project, including the following papers:

Peters MD, Lisy K, Riitano D, Jordan Z, Aromataris E. Caring for families experiencing stillbirth: Evidence-based guidance for maternity care providers. Women Birth 2015; 28(4): 272-8. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2015.07.003

Peters MD, Lisy K, Riitano D, Jordan Z, Aromataris E. Providing meaningful care for families experiencing stillbirth: a meta-synthesis of qualitative evidence. J Perinatol 2016; 36(1): 3-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jp.2015.97

Peters MD, Riitano D, Lisy K, Jordan Z, Pearson A, Aromataris E.  Provision of effective, meaningful and appropriate care for families who have experienced stillbirth: a comprehensive systematic review protocol. JBI Database Syst Rev Implement Rep 2014; 12(11): 141–156. http://dx.doi.org/10.11124/jbisrir-2014-2008

The Joanna Briggs Institute is currently developing a suite of resources for maternity care providers to undertake knowledge translation and implementation projects using the JBI’s Evidence-Based Clinical Fellowship Program to support meaningful and appropriate care for parents and families who experience stillbirth.

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Following on from chairing an international modelling good research practices taskforce, Professor Jon Karnon and colleagues have published a textbook to inform the use of discrete event simulation for health technology assessment.

Discrete Event Simulation for Health Technology Assessment” by J. Jaime Caro, Jörgen Möller, Jonathan Karnon, James Stahl and Jack Ishak. Published by Chapman and Hall/CRC Press.

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The remit of the PBS is to provide access to effective and safe pharmaceuticals at a price that provides value for money to the Australian taxpayer. It decides which new drugs it will subsidise based on recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). But how does the PBAC assess value for money? Read more […]

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The School of Population Health congratulates two of our academics and researchers who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2015 Honours list last weekend. Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia: Dr Richie (Richard) Gun – for distinguished service to medicine, particularly in the field of occupational health and safety, and […]

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Today is the first day of winter, and for many Australians with winter comes influenza. According to the director of the national influenza surveillance network, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Nigel Stocks, this flu season is underway early and it’s expected to be particularly relentless, so people should get vaccinated now. “Our data indicated that in […]

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The University of Adelaide is conducting the first study of its kind into the mental health of professional firefighters at South Australia’s Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS). The six-month study is focusing on the health and wellbeing of currently serving and recently retired firefighters, systematically investigating the effects of regular exposure to traumatic events. “Currently there […]

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The Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide conducts research regarding various aspects of the mental health and wellbeing of Australian military populations. The Centre currently has a number of large-scale military databases containing questionnaire, interview and physical testing data, from which research projects could be developed. The Centre is also launching […]

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Keynote presentations from the PHAA conference in September are now available on the PHAA website. These are well worth checking out, particularly the Basil Hetzel Oration by Dr David Jernigan, Director – Centre on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, USA), and Law enforcement and public health by Dr […]

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This week I was able to attend the signing and launch of the new South Australian Aboriginal Health Research Accord.  With the support of the Elders Council of SA, the Aboriginal Health Council of SA, SAHMRI and the three SA universities, this Accord marks the beginning of a new era for the conduct of Aboriginal […]

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