Uptake of GLA:D® so far in Australia has been mostly in the private sector. It’s expensive and most private health insurers cover only a small portion, leaving patients out-of-pocket or unable to access the program.
This project aims to expand the public offerings of GLA:D® in Tasmania. The team have partnered with the Tasmanian Health Service to implement GLA:D® in primary care settings across the State.
In 2021 the team began offering GLA:D® at two community outpatient clinics – Kingston Health Centre and Clarence Integrated Care Centre. For the first time in Tasmania, this is providing publicly funded access to GLA:D®.
The team will continue to expand GLA:D® across Tasmania, including in the North and North West.
IMPACT-TAS has sub-projects, which are helping to improve osteoarthritis care in Tasmania. These include:
- Training more physiotherapists and exercise physiologists to become GLA:D® accredited
- Establishing a Tasmanian GLA:D® Consumer Network
- Raising awareness of GLA:D® and non-surgical osteoarthritis management in Tasmania
- Co-designing, implementing and evaluating an intervention in general practice to increase GP referrals to GLA:D® (and exercise generally for osteoarthritis)
- Co-designing, implementing and evaluating a telehealth version of GLA:D® for rural and remote areas in Tasmania
The project findings could help change government policies to make it easier for people to access GLA:D® and other allied health programs in Australia.
Once GLA:D® is more widely available in the state, Primary Health Tasmania will help to launch it officially by adding it to their new eReferral system.
The team are now working with translational research scientists to come up with ways to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to best share their research findings with stakeholders, including policy-makers.
Program branding, social media campaigns and connecting with the broader media will help raise awareness of the program.
Dawn hopes the research will show the cost-benefit of making GLA:D® more widely available to the public, so that more people living with osteoarthritis can experience better quality of life without needing surgery.
Phase Two – Scale Up Success
The IMPACT-Tas research team have successfully secured further funding for Strategies to scale-up and sustain a first-line treatment approach to managing knee and hip osteoarthritis in Tasmania.
This new proposal aims to improve access to GLA:D®, a physiotherapy program for people with osteoarthritis living in rural and remote areas of Tasmania.
Dawn and her team will develop a publicly funded telehealth version of GLA:D® and evaluate its effectiveness.
The proposal will also provide in-person training for Tasmanian healthcare professionals to become certified in GLA:D® and create a network of Tasmanian GLA:D® consumers for information sharing and support.
The research team have been working closely with consumers and clinicians including GPs, surgeons, rheumatologists and physiotherapists. They work closely with health organisations including the Tasmanian Health Service, Primary Health Tasmania, Health Consumers Tasmania, Arthritis & Osteoporosis Tasmania, RACGP Tasmania, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, and Royal Flying Doctors Service Tasmania.
The goal is to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for those with osteoarthritis in Tasmania and avoid the need for knee and hip replacement surgery.
Interested in learning more about the GLA:D® program in this project?