Allied Health Professional Practice


A Rapid Evidence Review to underpin new models of care/workforce initiatives from a review of Allied Health staff feedback in ACT Health. Prepared for ACT Health.

The purpose of this review was to synthesise the published academic evidence on new models of care/ workforce initiatives from a review of Allied Health staff feedback carried out in ACT Health. A Rapid Review of the best available evidence was undertaken using a systematic review approach. The questions underpinning this review relate to a number of the factors recommended for consideration in the development of a model of care as presented by the Agency for Clinical Innovation, including that it is based on the best available evidence and that costing, funding and revenue opportunities for the model of care are identified, and assessed.


ASPIRE for quality: a new evidence-based tool to evaluate clinical service performance in South Australian Local Health Networks. Prepared for Allied and Scientific Health Office Department of Health, South Australia

A detailed consolidation of this report may be found here

This report describes the conceptualisation, development, and evaluation of an evidence-based performance evaluation system (ASPIRE) that can be used by allied health practitioners to assess their clinical service performance. The main objectives are to scope potential systems/models that can be used to deliver the following:

  • Embedded understanding of how to evaluate performance and productivity of clinical services in local health networks (LHNs) by Allied Health in line with contemporary key SA Health and LHN plans and strategies
  • Embedded understanding of how to promulgate the results of evaluation to achieve business change (including resources such as templates/toolkits)
  • Increased levels of evaluated Allied Health services in LHNs
  • Increased instances of Allied Health service improvement resulting from such evaluation
  • A suite of measures such as key performance indicators, clinical indicators, outcomes, inputs and outputs accessible to allied health to evaluate and improve their clinical services
  • To recommend one system/model including a robust system of evaluation of the model, in consultation with the Chief Allied and Scientific Health Advisor or delegate
  • To pilot the recommended system/model in a controlled area (e.g. Division, Department) within a LHN
  • To report results to the Allied and Scientific Health Office with detailed recommendation for further phases/rollout as appropriate


Report on Extended Scope of Physiotherapy Practice initiative in the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital: Workload and Efficiency. Prepared for ACT Health

Extension of Scope of practice in allied health is an emerging workforce initiative in Australia, where new roles of practice are defined by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as: ‘outside the currently recognised scope of practice and requires legislative change. Extended scope of practice requires some method of credentialing following additional training, competency development and significant clinical experience. Examples include prescribing, injecting and surgery. This role describes the breadth of practice’. Extension of scope of practice in physiotherapy has been piloted at Canberra Hospital, ACT Health Directorate since 2010, as a way of:

  1. Establishing a formal skills escalator process for allied health
  2. Developing a highly skilled and credentialed extended-scope workforce in allied health which can provide mentoring and quality practice models for other allied health practitioners working within competency
  3. Providing practical formally-recognised examples of workforce redesign, and
  4. Relieving doctors of the management of more routine cases, in circumstances where there is a long waiting list of patients, so that patient care is not compromised (and is in fact enhanced) and doctors can focus on more complex cases.

This report described on a physiotherapy pilot program within the Emergency Department at Canberra Hospital. 

Strengthening the Orthoptic Workforce, ACT Health Directorate: A Systematic Review of the Role, Effectiveness & Training of Orthoptists. A technical report prepared for the ACT Health Directorate

This review of Australian and international literature identified that orthoptists working in the ACT could expand their current practice to include a broader range of conditions and undertake a broader range of tasks, without the need to expand scope of practice. This review sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the role of orthoptists in managing patients with eye disease?
  2. Are there advanced practice, extended practice or assistant/ support roles for orthoptists?
  3. What is the evidence regarding the effectiveness of orthoptic roles in terms of process, cost and health outcomes?
  4. How is orthoptic practice described and organized?
  5. What training and supervision is reported for orthoptists? 

The Evaluation of an Allied Health Professional Support Program. An audit prepared for the Cunningham Centre, Queensland Health

The purpose of this evaluation was to evaluate the success (or otherwise) of the Allied Health Professional Support Program, and to formulate recommendations for the future directions of this program. The research questions that this evaluation addressed were:

  1. What level of awareness do allied health professionals in Queensland Health have of the Allied Health Professional Support policy, training activities and ‘how-to’ guides provided by the Allied Health Professional Support Program?
  2. Are the policy, training sessions and ‘how-to’ guides accessible to allied health professionals within Queensland Health?
  3. How effective has the Allied Health Professional Support Program been in assisting allied health professionals to participate in desired levels of professional support activities?
  4. What has been the impact on allied health professionals and their workplaces across Queensland of engagement in professional support activities?
  5. What are the barriers and enablers to participation in professional support activities by allied health professionals within Queensland Health?
  6. What is the quality of professional support activities completed by allied health professionals in Hospital and Health Services across Queensland Health? 

The Role of Advanced Allied Health Assistants: A Systematic Review. A technical report prepared for the ACT Health Directorate

This systematic review aimed to better understand the role of A/AHA, the training they receive, and their effectiveness, as well as any workforce issues regarding the implementation of these roles. This systematic review aimed to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the scope of practice of advanced allied health assistants (A/AHA)?
    1. What client groups do A/AHA work with?
    2. What settings do A/AHA work in?
    3. What training is available for A/AHA?
    4. How effective are A/AHA roles in terms of health, cost and process outcomes?
    5. What are the workforce issues for A/AHA? 

A brief evidence summary for the parameters underpinning clinical supervision of health professionals. Prepared for SA Health

There is currently a paucity of high quality research evidence, such as systematic reviews, regarding the parameters (duration and frequency) underpinning clinical supervision of health professionals. A recent literature review on allied heath clinical supervision in Australia identified numbers of knowledge gaps in this field. This short report provided a brief summary of evidence for the parameters underpinning the clinical supervision of health professionals.