Safeguarding injured Victorians: development and implementation of an evidence-informed system to manage therapeutic uncertainty and decision making in a compensable environment Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission are two Victorian government agencies that determine the policies that guide decisions to fund treatments and services provided to Victorians injured in transport or workplace accidents. These agencies identified that an internal system was required to manage requests for funding of new or emerging treatments. In particular, the agencies recognised a system that supported consistency in decision making in the context of therapeutic uncertainty and ensured the safety of injured Victorians was needed. The New, Emerging or Non-Established Treatments (NENETs) policy was launched in its current form by the agencies in 2013. The NENETs system includes a record of contemporary evidence for emerging treatments and an evidence-informed decision-making system to ensure consistency and information sharing. A system of recording decisions on emerging treatments was also implemented to ensure that funding decisions could later be reversed if necessary. The NENETs system has proved to be a robust and sustainable method of managing uncertainty for WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission and could be transferable to other funding bodies. What is known about the topic?An algorithm to guide clinicians when prescribing off-label medications was developed in 2006, although it has not been used widely in everyday practice. In 2019 the Medical Board of Australia launched a discussion paper on ‘complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments’ because no system for managing such treatments exists. Third-party payers have a responsibility to make objective and reliable decisions about new, emerging or non-established treatments to ensure high value care is offered to health consumers. What does this paper add?This paper provides an overview of the policy and decision-making system implemented by WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission to managing requests for new, emerging or non-established treatments. The system is adaptable to other third-party payers, health service funders and regulators in Australia and internationally. What are the implications for practitioners?It is important that practitioners caring for injured Victorians are aware of the systems used to inform decision making around requests for funding new, emerging or non-established treatments. Knowledge of the principles underlying this system may assist other funding bodies and the Medical Board of Australia to develop systems in other jurisdictions.

publication date

  • 2019