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Best Care, First Time

A youth-focused technology-driven health services research project

This project will use new and emerging technologies as the vehicle to enhance self-assessment and highly personalised care for young people. 

Professor Ian Hickie and the Youth Mental Health and Technology Team at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre will lead a youth-focused technology-driven health services research project, entitled Best Care, First Time.

Launched 21 October 2019 at the Brain and Mind Centre, supported by the Bupa Health Foundation – one of the leading charitable foundations dedicated to health in Australia – Best Care, First Time aims to provide better coordination of care to improve the lives of young people.

Most importantly, this study investigates how Australian-Government supported technology can support the coordination of highly-personalised care across primary, secondary, and hospital-level clinics as well as between public and private services.

“This program of practical health-services research, at the regional scale, is just what the Australian health system needs. In an area that has been poorly-funded historically and under-researched, we will use an evidence-based and data-driven approach to provide genuine integration of personal care. The project uses new digital technologies combined with a continuous and streamlined circle of care,” Professor Hickie said.

This project will use new and emerging technologies as the vehicle to enhance self-assessment and highly personalised care for young people at the first point of contact with a mental health service to support person-centred and outcomes-focused care.

Importantly, researchers will partner with young people, their families and health professionals throughout the project, and will collaboratively use research findings to inform national policy and practice.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said: “Mental health is our great national challenge. Despite a significant investment in services, many people find it difficult to access the care they need.

Best Care, First Time will investigate how technology can make it easier for young people with emerging mood or psychotic disorders to navigate the mental health system.”

A/Professor Annette Schmiede, Bupa Health Foundation’s Executive Leader, said: “Mental health is a key focus for the Bupa Health Foundation and investment in research and development at a systems level is needed to ensure best outcomes for patients and the health system are achieved.”

Professor Hickie said: “We are thrilled to have the University of Sydney and its linked headspace services, working with St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Private Psychiatry Clinics and Sydney Local Health District Services to deliver this project. The backing of the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network for enabling technologies has also been critical. It is now possible to have people working collaboratively at the regional level and move beyond their individual service settings to really meet the needs of young people with major mental health problems”.

The project was awarded funding in the recent Bupa Health Foundation competitive funding round focused on improving mental health models of care in Australia.

About Bupa 

Bupa is a diverse health and care group which has been committed to a purpose of longer, healthier, happier lives for close to 70 years.

In Australia and New Zealand, Bupa supports more than 6 million customers through a broad range of health and care services including health insurance, aged care, rehabilitation, dental, optical, medical, hearing and medical visa services.

Employing more than 22,000 people, we believe that we can make a real difference to the lives of Australians and New Zealanders through our values, purpose and the way that we deliver personalised care.

As we are not listed, we are able to reinvest our profits into improving the quality of health and care services. Since 2002 we have reinvested approximately $6bn in Australia and New Zealand, while the Bupa Health Foundation has invested over $26 million to support more than 100 health and care projects.

Best Care, First Time will investigate how technology can make it easier for young people with emerging mood or psychotic disorders to navigate the mental health system
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt