The role of cost‐effectiveness analyses in investment decision making by primary health networks

Sally Hall Dykgraaf and Amanda Barnard
Med J Aust 2020; 213 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50689
Published online: 20 July 2020

Scientific rigour and pragmatic implementation are both required, combining research findings with other forms of evidence

Primary health networks (PHNs) have been part of the health landscape in Australia since July 2015. Following the Horvath review of Medicare Locals,1 they were established as locally configured organisations that could support primary health care service providers, design and deliver improved primary health care, and work with hospitals to maximise the efficiency, effectiveness and coordination of care. One key role for PHNs is to commission primary health care services that meet local needs and improve outcomes by procuring services from third party providers, applying market‐making and supply‐shaping principles.2 To do this, PHNs undertake population‐level needs analyses to identify service gaps, reduce hospital burden, and promote value for money. They also help general practices and other primary health care providers deliver community care, optimise quality and safety, and make meaningful use of electronic support systems.

  • Sally Hall Dykgraaf
  • Amanda Barnard

  • Rural Clinical School, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT



We thank Dianne Kitcher (chief executive officer, COORDINARE) for her insights and comments on the draft manuscript.

Competing interests:

Amanda Barnard is a board director and chair of the Southern NSW Clinical Council of COORDINARE (South Eastern NSW primary health network).


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