Primary Health Care

Healthcare Connect North

Understanding the success behind Healthcare Connect North (Phase One)

The approach to the codesign review

The Healthcare Connect North (HCN) service is a collaboration between Primary Health Tasmania, the Tasmanian Health Service, the Department of Health, and the University of Tasmania.

It provides accessible, efficient, and comprehensive primary health care to people with complex care needs.

The service uses a multidisciplinary team including a GP, nurse manager, social worker, and allied health assistant who wrap care around the patient and links them to existing community services like home care and palliative care.

How has the Collaboration supported this project?

Evaluating the co-design process was made possible by additional funding provided by the Collaboration. This has proven valuable for optimising ongoing Healthcare Connect North codesign processes as well as for developing a more comprehensive framework to extend the work of our partnership to address high healthcare service utilisation in Tasmania.

The Collaboration:

1. Helped strengthen links between our project and our translational research program partners

2. Enabled cross sectoral collaboration

3. Provided access to resources and expertise.

The service is based on best evidence translated into operational service delivery.

The evidence was used to inform a codesign process that was undertaken with key stakeholders, which led to Primary Health Tasmania commissioning the Tasmanian Health Service to implement the service for two years.

The evaluation of the service has several elements:

  • A review of the codesign process
  • Service outcomes (reductions in admissions and length of stay)
  • Patient experience
  • Staff experience

The initial phase of the evaluation, supported by the Collaboration is to determine the key success factors to the codesign process.

The approach to the codesign review

The co-design review is a qualitative study using an approach based on grounded theory. It aims to investigate the experiences and perceptions of people who participated in the co-design of Healthcare Connect North.

Two interviews with each participant are planned. The first interviews have been completed and analysed. Participants included healthcare consumers, healthcare professionals, staff in health services management and leadership roles, and representatives from different organisations.

The findings of the first interviews were presented at the 2023 Australian Association for Academic Primary Care Annual Research Conference by the PhD student working on the evaluation, Ms Deirdre McGowan. Her presentation received the conference prize for the best oral presentation.

The researchers found that most participants reported a positive experience and identified six themes:

  • bureaucracy hinders co-design
  • importance of lived experience and diversity
  • importance of a common purpose
  • relationships are integral
  • participants expectations inform their co-design experience, and
  • learning from co-design.

The findings emphasise the importance of incorporating the perspectives of people with lived experience perspectives in co-design but suggest that it may be difficult to fully adopt co-design principles in bureaucratic organisations.

However, more research is required to examine how bureaucracy enables or hinders co-design. To overcome the potential for diversity of professional background to take precedence over other types of diversity, the researchers recommended that co-design team membership should be described where possible and other types of diversity considered when assembling co-design teams.1

Work is ongoing and other aspects of the evaluation are continuing.

1. Abstracts of the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) Annual Research Conference, 17–18 August 2023. Australian Journal of Primary Health. 2023;29(4): xlvi.

Available at

Who will benefit from this research?

The implementation and subsequent evaluation of the Healthcare Connect Service will provide valuable insights to people involved in healthcare service design in Tasmania.

Policymakers, health service funders and clinicians will be better placed to translate the evidence base into operational service delivery including improved future co-design processes.

Achieving services that align better with the needs of people with lived experience and the community can lead to improved health outcomes and accessibility of health care services, benefiting the broader Tasmanian community indirectly.

Next steps

The Healthcare Connect service is currently operating within Primary Health North (Tasmanian Health Service) until June 2024.

Further data will be gathered throughout this time to ensure that all elements of the evaluation of the service are completed and will be shared with the Collaboration and other key partners as this becomes available.

For more information on this project, please contact us