Driving innovation in allied health services for a health network

Ms Amy Thomas1, Dr Helen Shoemark2, Ms  Janeen Bower1, Ms Lucy Forrest1

1Monash Health, Clayton, Australia, 2Temple University, Philadelphia, USA



While allied health research informs interventions in medical and community settings, little attention is given to the development of clinical service delivery. Development of services is often ad hoc and reactionary in response to periods of rapid transition. The “Sustainable Innovation: Building equitable services for consumers across the Monash Health network” project is a multi-phase clinical project designed to reconfigure a flexible model for the music therapy service across the lifespan populations cared for in the Monash Health network.


Kazdin’s mediator-moderator model provided the scaffolding (Kazdin, 2007; Robb 2012)  and principles of team science (Salas, Fiore & Letsky, 2012) were employed to construct progress through active discussion.  Key components included:

-Respect, before pride – allowing all perspectives to be given a place in the discussion

-Creative strands – were discussed until exhausted, rather than tolerated.

-Diagram as place-holder – visual representations as provisional impressions to keep concepts accessible while language was explored

-Resisting the premature conclusion –leaving decisions open to modification

This process promoted retention and growth in caseload while new systems were progressively tested via clinical audits of referrals and session purposes.


The outcomes to-date included the introduction of a new theoretical platform to support the network priority to keep patients in their community. On this platform, referral priorities have been revised and streamlined and music therapy service targets increased to better meet patient needs and health network priorities. This paper will include explain the processes and outcomes, with illustrations of increased efficiencies.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

This project illustrates an applicable model of team process to develop robust systems which can retain a clear patient focus while being responsive to rapid systems change.