Improved wound management at lower cost: a sensible goal for Australia.
Norman RE., Gibb M., Dyer A., Prentice J., Yelland S., Cheng Q., Lazzarini PA., Carville K., Innes-Walker K., Finlayson K., Edwards H., Burn E., Graves N.
Chronic wounds cost the Australian health system at least US$2·85 billion per year. Wound care services in Australia involve a complex mix of treatment options, health care sectors and funding mechanisms. It is clear that implementation of evidence-based wound care coincides with large health improvements and cost savings, yet the majority of Australians with chronic wounds do not receive evidence-based treatment. High initial treatment costs, inadequate reimbursement, poor financial incentives to invest in optimal care and limitations in clinical skills are major barriers to the adoption of evidence-based wound care. Enhanced education and appropriate financial incentives in primary care will improve uptake of evidence-based practice. Secondary-level wound specialty clinics to fill referral gaps in the community, boosted by appropriate credentialing, will improve access to specialist care. In order to secure funding for better services in a competitive environment, evidence of cost-effectiveness is required. Future effort to generate evidence on the cost-effectiveness of wound management interventions should provide evidence that decision makers find easy to interpret. If this happens, and it will require a large effort of health services research, it could be used to inform future policy and decision-making activities, reduce health care costs and improve patient outcomes.