Participatory Action Research Applied to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialty Service Redesign in Remote Australia: A Mixed-Methods Study of Key Stakeholder Perspectives.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, 18, (1), pp. 1-12
Issue Date:
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This mixed-methods study reports on the key stakeholders' perspectives on the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) service redesign in remote Australia, using a participatory action research (PAR) approach. A primary health care (PHC) clinician survey was conducted to assess local needs and possible educational gaps in clinical knowledge. This was followed by an internal stakeholder forum and a follow-up survey with Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service staff to gain their perspectives on current service delivery and table ideas for a new ENT health service model. Qualitative data were analyzed inductively and grouped in emerging themes. Quantitative data were imported into tables and analyzed descriptively. PAR allowed for input from 19 PHC clinicians, 10 face-to-face stakeholders perspectives, and 18 stakeholder follow-up survey respondents. Four themes emerged: 1. Training for health workers in ENT management; 2. Improved local service access; 3. New referral pathways to improve continuity of care; and 4. Introduction of telehealth. PAR engaged key stakeholders, identifying gaps in ENT service delivery, and guided the development of the new service model. The inclusion of stakeholders throughout the service redesign process is likely to create a more sustainable model of care which already has local "buy-in".
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