Harnessing the skills, talent and training of all members of a health care team is the key to reducing errors and obtaining the best results for patients, according to the University of Newcastle's incoming Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health.
Professor Nick Talley will present his views on the future of health care training and delivery in Australia at the annual University of Newcastle David Maddison lecture tomorrow night.
"Traditionally, health care training has focused on individual competence and has largely occurred in silos," Professor Talley said. "Yet health care professionals are thrown together to work in a team."In my view, best practice in a team environment is a learned skill and, as such, the learning must begin early in training."
Professor Talley said he believed the future of health care was individualised medicine.
"By international standards Australia has a great health care system, however one in 12 people still suffer a potentially avoidable adverse event in hospital.
"Individualised medicine refers to knowing and using the unique characteristics of a patient to determine the exact type of care for the best outcomes. For example, some patients shouldn't be given certain types of medication if they have a particular genetic makeup.
"Patients must be placed at the centre of health professionals' work to make the health system better - we need to prepare our graduates for these coming changes."
Currently the Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the esteemed Mayo Clinic's College of Medicine in Florida USA, Professor Talley will take up the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Health, in the first half of 2010.
"The training of health professionals must reflect the differences in generational needs and incorporate new advances in technology for teaching and learning.
"My aim as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor will be to ensure University of Newcastle graduates are of the highest quality and place the needs of patients first, deliver health care with deep compassion and think creatively to advance their field of expertise."
Professor Nick Talley will present the David Maddison lecture on Tuesday 20 October, 6pm at the Royal Newcastle Centre Lecture Theatre, John Hunter Hospital.
Professor Talley will be available for media interviews.