Background: This is the second in a series of papers reporting a program of Sustainability in Health care by Allocating Resources Effectively (SHARE) in a local healthcare setting. Rising healthcare costs, continuing advances in health technologies and recognition of ineffective practices and systematic waste are driving disinvestment of health technologies and clinical practices that offer little or no benefit in order to maximise outcomes from existing resources. However there is little information to guide regional health services or individual facilities in how they might approach disinvestment locally. This paper outlines the investigation of potential settings and methods for decision-making about disinvestment in the context of an Australian health service. Methods: Methods include a literature review on the concepts and terminology relating to disinvestment, a survey of national and international researchers, and interviews and workshops with local informants. A conceptual framework was drafted and refined with stakeholder feedback. Results: There is a lack of common terminology regarding definitions and concepts related to disinvestment and no guidance for an organisation-wide systematic approach to disinvestment in a local healthcare service. A summary of issues from the literature and respondents highlight the lack of theoretical knowledge and practical experience and provide a guide to the information required to develop future models or methods for disinvestment in the local context. A conceptual framework was developed. Three mechanisms that provide opportunities to introduce disinvestment decisions into health service systems and processes were identified. Presented in order of complexity, time to achieve outcomes and resources required they include 1) Explicit consideration of potential disinvestment in routine decision-making, 2) Proactive decision-making about disinvestment driven by available evidence from published research and local data, and 3) Specific exercises in priority setting and system redesign. Conclusion: This framework identifies potential opportunities to initiate disinvestment activities in a systematic integrated approach that can be applied across a whole organisation using transparent, evidence-based methods. Incorporating considerations for disinvestment into existing decision-making systems and processes might be achieved quickly with minimal cost; however establishment of new systems requires research into appropriate methods and provision of appropriate skills and resources to deliver them.
- Health Clinical Practice
- Resource allocation