While specialists are providing a broader range of services to a larger number of people, growth in fee revenue has actually decreased by 0.15 per cent per year, in real terms, even taking into consideration the 5.5 per cent (above inflation) growth rate in out of pocket expenses where services are not bulk billed.
The existence and persistence of low-value care is putting pressure on the wider system.
“Continued increases in expenditure on healthcare… will need more evidence of high value healthcare being provided to Australians, as well as increased transparency and accountability,” Professor Scott says.
There are a number of initiatives underway in the industry to provide better information about what works and what doesn’t work, what it costs consumers and the health system and how the industry can help patients make more informed decisions.
These include the international Choosing Wisely campaign, ongoing reviews of what’s covered by Medicare and the push to link funding to performance.