University Of Tasmania
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Integrating patient complexity into health policy: a conceptual framework

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 19:21 authored by Maree, P, Roger Hughes, Janette RadfordJanette Radford, Jim StankovichJim Stankovich, Pieter Van DamPieter Van Dam

Objective: Clinicians across all health professions increasingly strive to add value to the care they deliver through the application of the central tenets of people-centred care (PCC), namely the ‘right care’, in the ‘right place’, at the ‘right time’ and ‘tailored to the needs of communities’. This ideal is being hampered by a lack of a structured, evidence-based means to formulate policy and value the commissioning of services in an environment of increasing appreciation for the complex health needs of communities. This creates significant challenges for policy makers, commissioners and providers of health services. Communities face a complex intersection of challenges when engaging with healthcare. Increasingly, complexity is gaining prominence as a significant factor in the delivery of PCC. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) components of health policy, this paper proposes a policy framework that enables policy makers, commissioners and providers of health care to integrate a model of complexity into policy, subsequent service planning and development of models of care.

Methods: The WHO components of health policy were used as the basis for the framework. Literature was drawn on to develop a policy framework that integrates complexity into health policy.

Results: Within the framework, complexity is juxtaposed between the WHO components of ‘vision’, ‘priorities’ and ‘roles’.

Conclusion: This framework, supported by the literature, provides a means for policy makers and health planners to conduct analyses of and for policy. Further work is required to better model complexity in a manner that integrates consumer needs and provider capabilities.


Publication title

Australian Health Review








Tasmanian School of Medicine


C S I R O Publishing

Place of publication


Rights statement

© AHHA 2020. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Determinants of health; Health inequalities