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State of private healthcare in Australia

Australia’s healthcare system is often described as a mixed system, with a combination of public and private providers. While public healthcare through Medicare provides universal coverage for essential services, private healthcare offers additional options and amenities for those who can afford them.

Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) is the Australian private health insurance industry’s peak representative body that currently has 21registered health funds throughout Australia and collectively represents 98% of people covered by private health insurance. PHA member funds today provide healthcare benefits for over 14 million Australians.

Landmark Australian-led study revises thresholds to diagnose and treat anaemia

In 2014, WEHI researchers began a study at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO), to formally review its global anaemia guidelines that were last updated in 1968. 
 
Study lead and Acting WEHI Deputy Director, Professor Sant-Rayn Pasricha, speaking to Australian Health Journal said while anaemia can be diagnosed by measuring the amount of haemoglobin in the blood, there is currently no consensus on the thresholds that should be used to define the condition.

Awareness campaigns and HCP Toolkits for thyroid health

In 2021, the Australian Thyroid Foundation released analysis to show, well over 1 million Australian are living with an undiagnosed thyroid disorder, including thyroid cancer, lower IQs, lifelong disability, and a causal or possible contributory factor – in the development of other neurological disorders such as ADHD and autism. Some of the challenges for diagnosis and treatment can be addressed by producing material for health care practitioners during patient presentations.

‘Recent statistics show well over 1 million Australians are living with an undiagnosed thyroid disorder, awareness and testing can prevent unwarranted outcomes for mothers and their babies’ says ATF CEO Beverley Garside OAM

The Australian Thyroid Foundation has lodged a Pre-Budget Submission for the Federal Budget 2024-25 to counter increasing misinformation on social media creating dietary deficiencies such as an increasing number of young women, who are planning pregnancy or already pregnant opting for plant based milks such almond, soy or oat milk coffee as an alternative to standard cow’s milk, which is a source of iodine and alternate milks do not include.

Understanding factors of persistent lower back pain in women

Lizzy Quinn is a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist with 20 years experience focusing on people with spinal pain. Australian Health Journal spoke with Lizzy on the complexities of persistent lower back pain in women.

Lower back pain in women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s is complex to treat due to the combination of physical and emotional factors, and health professionals need to stay updated on best practices and science to provide the best recovery platform for patients. These women typically have busy lives, pressures, and expectations.

Landmark research projects tackle critical issues in emergency healthcare

For two decades, the demand for emergency department services in Australia has outpaced population growth and wait times have increased. In 2022-2023 more than 8.8 million emergency department presentations occurred nationwide.

While demand is a contributing factor, EDs are currently being impacted by various factors across the entire health system.

The Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) is a non-profit organisation funding innovative Australian research that improves the way people are cared for in a medical emergency. The aim of the research is to deliver better and more effective health services to save lives and money.

Empowering underprivileged communities with sustainable health

Dr Gaj Panagoda, CEO of Xstitch Health, has a diverse medical background and is working to improve health systems for underprivileged communities. In the Australian Health Journal’s People In Health Care series, he talks about the changes needed in community-based care using a project based approach,

According to Dr Panagoda, there is a need for a shift towards community-based care and collaboration with stakeholders in the healthcare system, and the potential to create a new kind of socially conscious, inspired, community-informed medical specialist is the future of medical specialty care.

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