We were fortunate to have attended the National Allied Health Conference in Sydney in August 2017.
It was a good opportunity to hear about national and international trends, developments and latest research being undertaken by the Allied Health Professions.

Some key themes emerged and highlighted that:

• Everyone in healthcare is focused on the imperative of improving quality of care, reducing cost and improving overall health of the population. Allied health practitioners need to be partnering at all levels of the health service. Allied health data is key and improving ways to capture and report data was explored.

• Workforce planning, development and building capacity is a priority. There are a plethora of frameworks in use, and being developed, to assist with identifying what the gaps are, what staff are aware of, what needs to be developed from comprehensive workforce and learning framework to communicate learning and development strategies to all levels of the workforce to new grad training programs and supervision training programs including evaluation methodologies.

• There needs to a better focus on Aboriginal health and cultural capability. We have not progressed very far in Closing the Gap. We require buy in at the consumer level for programs targeting Aboriginal Health to be successful. There was a sobering presentation on the impact of intergenerational trauma among of Aboriginal people. This can’t be understated and needs to be directly addressed.

• Education needs to be carefully targeted. Research exploring the impact and benefit of blended learning programs and findings indicated that different learning modes offer different benefits and there is a need to consider which one is right for each learning activity.

• Understanding and facilitating multidisciplinary team work and interprofessional practice is crucial. One health service reported the value in looking at team dynamics and understanding their own and other’s profiles to get the best out of teams and patient outcomes. Results from another health service indicated there is benefit in assessing staff capability for supporting patients in self-management because chronic disease management is a considerable challenge for health care now and into the future.

There was an interesting poster display at the conference with a lot of posters exploring the experiences of different allied health structures and models, different modes of service delivery and patient education and the continued evolution of the Allied Health Assistant role. TRACS WA presented two posters, one about our subacute care learning program, its evolution and outcomes since the original pilot 3 years ago and another about the development of our suite of online video case scenarios.
 
A detailed conference report is available with links to some of the presentations and papers for those interested in reading more.