The OPTIMISE study, which aimed to improve refugee health care in general practice is now completed. We implemented the study in 3 regions of high refugee settlement across NSW and Victoria. Thirty-one practices undertook, through facilitation process, the OPTIMISE intervention focusing on improving a practice-wide system in identifying refugee status, improving interpreter use, conducting refugee health assessment and referrals to specialised care and other services.
As main results are now out, an online NSW state-wide meeting was held on Dec. 3rd, 2020. In the meeting main results were presented: significant increase in conduct of the refugee health assessment, interpreter use and practices with a list of bulk-billing specialists and services; GPs reported reduced difficulties in referring patients to settlement and social services and oral and dental services, but not to mental health services.
Feedback from participants included the need for a better linkage between primary health and tertial care, time being a main barrier for GPs to use interpreters and a request for a more service delivery-oriented report. A follow-up meeting with OPTIMISE regional partners will take a place in Dec.16th to discuss further dissemination, policy and service delivery implications of the study results and future research.