Key messages

  • A principle based decision-making framework to assist allied health managers and clinicians to achieve the most effective service setting, profile and focus of allied health services.
  • The decision-making framework developed through this work is presented in a web-based format for ease of application.

The Allied Health: Making service decisions for the future project has developed a principle based decision-making framework to assist allied health managers and clinicians to achieve the most effective service setting, profile and focus of allied health services in the future. Importantly, the framework aims to promote transparent decision-making and support the translation of evidence into practice.

The decision-making framework developed through this work is presented in a web-based format for ease of application. This is referred to as the Allied Health Resource Allocation Decision Tool (ReAD-iT). The principles underpinning the framework comprise: need, appropriateness, impact, readiness and justification, corresponding to the overarching themes of impact, readiness and appropriateness in the ReAD-iT.

Making good decisions regarding where Allied Health staff are deployed to achieve the most positive impact on health outcomes is at the core of a service's ability to attain sustainable success. There is substantial evidence demonstrating that robust processes heighten the chances of a decision being a good one and that "good decisions will be made more consistently if there is a firm procedural basis underpinning the process and methods that ensure the best information and input are available." (Australian Institute of Company Directors - AICD)1. The ReAD-iT provides this systematic, comprehensive and unbiased process.

Approaching decision making as a structured process acknowledges that the world and health environment is inherently uncertain, complex and dynamic and making good decisions is challenging; using a defined framework, tools and process will support evidence being translated into practice and counteract sloppy thinking and ineffective work habits while recognising the fluidity and contextual nature of decisions.

The questions in the ReAD-iT are designed to step you through a structured decision making process that asks you to reflect on the available evidence and the assumptions behind your thinking in order to reach your decision.

Flowchart of principle based decision-making framework, developed from the 'Allied Health: Making service decisions for the future' project

[1] 2014-15 Australian Institute of Company Directors - 2: Decision Making; P 11.

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