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Educating for consumer engagement in health care

Peter Brooks's picture

Professor Peter Brooks AM is Professorial Fellow of the Centre for Health Policy School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. At the recent Global Access Partners Summit on Education he addressed some of the major challenges for our health system.


Health education and -literacy is one of the important issues of our time – how do we cope with the tsunami of health care we need to deliver to an ageing and chronically ill population? If we are going to allow patients to engage with health professionals in a meaningful way about shared decision making for their own health then we need to educate them appropriately. We need to include health education as part of a general education of our children and we need to ensure continuing education (lifelong learning) on health issues for all.

It is quite unacceptable to have the current level of health literacy where less than 50% of Australians can read and understand the label on medications. Are we not surprised that we have such difficulty in getting patients to take their treatments long term or suffer side effects of the medications because they take them inappropriately!

Better educational outcomes: Start early

Frank Oberklaid's picture

In recent years there has been a welcome national debate about how we can improve educational outcomes for Australian children. At the recent Global Access Partners Summit on Education Professor Frank Oberklaid said that learning is as a continuum from birth, and policy and services should reflect this.

What happened to our retirement?

Nicole Orr's picture

Australians born after 1965 will have to work until they are 70 years old. Nicole Orr says we need a greater understanding of the secondary effects this will have on the individual, the economy and the communities of Australia.

The intervention versus homelands – shattered ambitions

Brendan Howden's picture

Homelands began in the 1960s in a political climate of increasing recognition of Indigenous rights and progressive reform. Brendan Howden says homelands offer a more successful and sustainable way forward for remote area Aboriginal people than the intervention model.

Disconnect to reconnect

Social September logo

Social September encourages us to press pause – disconnect from our digital lives and reconnect with each other and ourselves. The aim is to create spaces for face-to-face social connection, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

Together we can stop the heartache

Big Heart Appeal logo

This September big-hearted Australians are again invited to help save lives and make research possible by supporting the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal.

Inspire conversations

R U ok? logo

Thursday 11 September we are encouraged to meaningfully ask “Are you ok?” There is research suggesting that this simplest of questions can make a difference in suicide prevention.

Children in immigration detention: Worse than Guantanamo Bay?

Angela Beresford's picture

There is mounting evidence that children in immigration detention are subject to appalling physical and mental maltreatment. Angela Beresford speculates about the political motives of the Australian Government.

What if bioinformatics could measure health for an early diagnosis of disease?

Shoba Ranganathan's picture

Bioinformatics joins biology and computing together to analyse data from biological samples. Professor Shoba Ranganathan recently hosted a conference that addressed how we can mine biological data to quantify health and develop preventive healthcare strategies.

Why Australia needs a cyclists party

Omar Khalifa's picture

The Australian Cyclists Party has recently been approved to be a registered Federal party. Its President and Founder Omar Khalifa says we need to rethink our priorities if we want to improve traffic congestion, our health and the environment.