Background: This is the sixth in a series of papers reporting Sustainability in Health care by Allocating Resources Effectively (SHARE) in a local healthcare setting. The SHARE program was established to investigate a systematic, integrated, evidence-based approach to disinvestment within a large Australian health service. This paper describes the methods employed in undertaking pilot disinvestment projects. It draws a number of lessons regarding the strengths and weaknesses of these methods; particularly regarding the crucial first step of identifying targets for disinvestment. Methods: Literature reviews, survey, interviews, consultation and workshops were used to capture and process the relevant information. A theoretical framework was adapted for evaluation and explication of disinvestment projects, including a taxonomy for the determinants of effectiveness, process of change and outcome measures. Implementation, evaluation and costing plans were developed. Results: Four literature reviews were completed, surveys were received from 15 external experts, 65 interviews were conducted, 18 senior decision-makers attended a data gathering workshop, 22 experts and local informants were consulted, and four decision-making workshops were undertaken. Mechanisms to identify disinvestment targets and criteria for prioritisation and decision-making were investigated. A catalogue containing 184 evidence-based opportunities for disinvestment and an algorithm to identify disinvestment projects were developed. An Expression of Interest process identified two potential disinvestment projects. Seventeen additional projects were proposed through a non-systematic nomination process. Four of the 19 proposals were selected as pilot projects but only one reached the implementation stage. Factors with potential influence on the outcomes of disinvestment projects are discussed and barriers and enablers in the pilot projects are summarised. Conclusion: This study provides an in-depth insight into the experience of disinvestment in one local healthcare service. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to report the process of disinvestment from identification, through prioritisation and decision-making, to implementation and evaluation, and finally explication of the processes and outcomes.
- Health technology
- Resource allocation