Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Lifting our line of sight–Overcoming the challenge of accessing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health data (#433)

Sharon Manhire

The Fred Hollows Foundation wants to demonstrate impact and drive proactive, needs-based program development, building upon key learnings and informed by evidence, in order to improve access to quality eye health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A key challenge to doing this effectively is access to reliable eye-health related data. This includes both internal program data, as well as national data. A fragmented health system, limited national eye health data, the slow roll-out of national electronic health records and local data coordination issues are the major issues preventing access to eye health data.

To side-step these barriers The Foundation built on the strength of our patient-journey centred programming, to create a model that will allow data collection and evidence-gathering in areas that are relevant to improving access to eye health care. We undertook a multi-step process of reviewing the extant literature and combining with empirical findings from our own programs, policy analysis and our experience. The purpose of this process was to generate an evidence base relating to improving 'accessibility' of eye health that would inform and underpin programming, advocacy and operational research priorities.

This has led to the development of five domains that will set the frame for strategic targets and determine the work that will be undertaken over the next ten years, measuring our progress against each domain. A comprehensive regional model, where eye health is integrated along the entire patient pathway, will be systematically and strategically implemented using a health system strengthening approach. Data gathered through this progress will be used to continually demonstrate impact.

The Foundation is now in a position to collide with opportunities that will open doors and address the organisation’s objectives. This presentation will be of interest to other organisations looking to lift their sight beyond the challenges of access to data. The Foundation is looking to share this model of refinement and structural reform that has placed the organisation in a stronger position to respond to future demands and enabled us to extract maximum benefits for our investment.