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Conference Abstracts

Imagination, innovation & integration: Breaking down the systemic barriers to improving wellbeing and health equity


Nicola Callard

Children's Health Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, AU
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As the sustainability of Australia’s health systems are challenged by increasing demand and cost, the importance of influencing the social determinants and our ability to integrate and innovate across sectors is critical.

Description of policy context and objective

The Queensland government has defined its agenda in the Our Future State – Advancing Queensland Priorities initiative. As part of this initiative, government is calling for agencies to collaborate and innovate to design new ways of working to shift the dial on a suite of population level indicators, including several indicators relating to children’s health and wellbeing.

Targeted population

Over six months in 2019, Children’s Health Queensland facilitated a whole of system piece of work to better understand the needs of parents and develop policy recommendations for government that will enable a more integrated and responsive service model that enables early identification and intervention for emerging child development concerns.

Highlights (innovation, impact and outcomes)

Through partnerships across the system and leveraging the strengths of 10 government departments, CHQ facilitated a human-centred design process which involved engagement with over 70 parents state wide, 58 front line staff (GPs, Child Health, Childcare workers, Child safety officers) and over 50 hours of cross-government solution design working sessions. By investing in engaging well with families and spending time working with partner agencies to design innovative and integrated responses to the issues, the policy recommendations were owned by the 10 agencies involved, leading to a unique opportunity to change the system.

The policy recommendations that were proposed included:

-               A universal digital solution that integrates and consolidates existing government websites to create a more streamlined experience for parents where information is consistently managed through a content management system and presented in a coherent narrative.

-               A suite of targeted solutions to meet the needs of the more vulnerable cohorts that optimise existing investment in services as well as capital infrastructure. These solutions identified a number of projects where multiple government departments could repurpose or reshape existing investment to collaborative in new ways that could have greater return on investment.

Comments on transferability

CHQ’s approach to this policy activity has challenged the status quo on how the system makes commissioning and investment decisions and the logic and methodology. The collaborative and human-centred approach can be generalised and applied to the adult population to address other complex issues that require acknowledgement of the social determinants of health.

Conclusions (comprising key findings)

By facilitating systemic and cross-sectorial integration at the policy level, CHQ has influenced thinking and decision making at the earliest stage of planning, which sets enabling conditions that support integrated service design and provision of care. Taking a genuinely collaborative approach and keeping the needs of children and families at the centre, CHQ has been able to align the priorities and perspectives of 10 government agencies to form an integrated policy perspective that sets the scene for service providers to break through traditional barriers to deliver life changing care for Queensland kids.

How to Cite: Callard N. Imagination, innovation & integration: Breaking down the systemic barriers to improving wellbeing and health equity. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2021;20(S1):91. DOI:
Published on 26 Feb 2021.


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