Developing a service platform definition to promote evidence-based planning and funding of the mental health service system

Yong Yi Lee, Carla S. Meurk, Meredith G. Harris, Sandra Diminic, Roman W. Scheurer, Harvey A. Whiteford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Ensuring that a mental health system provides ‘value for money’ requires policy makers to allocate resources to the most cost-effective interventions. Organizing cost-effective interventions into a service delivery framework will require a concept that can guide the mapping of evidence regarding disorder-level interventions to aggregations of services that are meaningful for policy makers. The ‘service platform’ is an emerging concept that could be used to this end, however no explicit definition currently exists in the literature. The aim of this study was to develop a service platform definition that is consistent with how policy makers conceptualize the major elements of the mental health service system and to test the validity and utility of this definition through consultation with mental health policy makers. We derived a provisional definition informed by existing literature and consultation with experienced mental health researchers. Using a modified Delphi method, we obtained feedback from nine Australian policy makers. Respondents provided written answers to a questionnaire eliciting their views on the acceptability, comprehensibility and usefulness of a service platform definition which was subject to qualitative analysis. Overall, respondents understood the definition and found it both acceptable and useful, subject to certain conditions. They also provided suggestions for its improvement. Our findings suggest that the service platform concept could be a useful way of aggregating mental health services as a means for presenting priority setting evidence to policy makers in mental health. However, further development and testing of the concept is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12261-12282
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Decision making
  • Delphi method
  • Health planning
  • Health policy
  • Health systems
  • Mental health
  • Priority setting
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Service platform

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