Table 3:

Characteristics of clinical networks in New South Wales, Australia*,16

Network purposeMembersLeadership structureResourcesProcesses
  • Networks are formed around specialty health service areas, although they are meant to work with local primary care groups to ensure integration

  • Networks have a system-wide focus where members identify and advocate for models of service delivery (e.g., outreach services, new equipment, using technology to improve diagnosis) and quality improvement initiatives1719

  • The goal is to improve health services and health outcomes by developing services based on clinical need, improve the quality of care and safety for patients, increase equity of access and outcomes within the hospital system, and enable clinician- and consumer-driven planning19

  • Volunteer health care professionals (primary care physicians, specialists and allied health) as well as patients and carers

  • Each network has more than 230 members on average, including about 30 on each network’s executive committee

  • Medical, nursing and allied health clinicians act in a voluntary capacity as co-chairs, and salaried network managers provide operational-level support

  • Networks are accountable to the New South Wales Agency for Clinical Innovation, which is a board-governed statutory organization, operated and funded by the New South Wales State Health Department

  • Networks have been funded by the New South Wales state government via an annual budget4

  • Funds are available for larger-scale projects on a competitive basis of about AU$100 000 (per project)19

  • Networks are free to select the priority areas of focus

  • All networks implement their activities in association with the State Health Department and the Area Health Services19

  • Key tasks include focusing on providing high-quality, patient-centred care; streamlining emergency department processes; reducing unwarranted variation in care; reducing readmission rates; introducing new service models; tightening performance standards; driving health system integration at local levels; testing system-wide approaches; promoting local health pathways; supporting effective transfer of care; and aligning financial incentives and performance

  • * There are more than 30 coordinated managed clinical networks, which were initiated in 2001.