Monash University
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The OPTIMISE Partnership: improving accessibility, quality and coordination of primary health care for refugees in Australia

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Version 2 2020-01-29, 06:12
Version 1 2020-01-29, 00:22
posted on 2020-01-29, 06:12 authored by OPTIMISE Research ProjectOPTIMISE Research Project

Context: Australia’s newly arrived refugees have initial health care needs met within refugee-focused health services (RFHS) before transitioning to mainstream general practice for ongoing care. However the system is under strain: many RFHS are operating at capacity, transition to general practice is inconsistent, and mainstream general practice has found it difficult to provide high quality care to this vulnerable population.

Aims: Our multi-sectoral partnership aligns academics, clinicians and community members with 11 national, state and local organisations responsible for delivering community based care to refugees. We will design and trial (evaluate?) a model of integrated refugee primary health care suitable for uptake (adaptation) throughout Australia. Subsidiary aims are to increase the accessibility of RFHSs, optimise systems for transitioning refugee clients between services and to increase the ability of mainstream general practices to deliver appropriate care to refugees.

Methods: The four-year project is based on principles of participatory research and implementation science. Three Regional Partnerships, comprising clinicians, policy makers, academics and community members, will work together to identify gaps in the current system of care for refugees, then work to improve service capacity, client transition and quality of care for refugees living within each region.

Innovative contribution to policy, practice and/or research: Our partnership will generate robust, regionally relevant and adaptable improvements to systems of care for refugees; create a framework for adapting an intervention to local contexts to address local health system priority gaps; generate knowledge on practical participatory research strategies, and develop the primary health care system’s capacity to facilitate ongoing improvement to the system of caring for refugees in the community.


Gunatillaka N, Cheng I, Advocat J, Teede H, Pottie K, Hogg W, Meadows G, Enticott J, Lewis V, Harris M, Russell G. The OPTIMISE Partnership: improving accessibility, quality and coordination of primary health acre for refugees in Australia. Primary Health Care Research Conference (PHCRIS). National Convention Centre, Canberra. 8-9 June 2016. (Poster)


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