HNECC PHN is committed to working with and through general practice to enable delivery of best practice outcomes and experiences for patient populations through continuous quality improvement and data driven processes.
We can provide you with practical advice to assist in implementing quality improvement in your practice through our Primary Care Improvement Officer team. We have also developed a number of tools to support quality improvement activity in our region. These toolkits contain information about the model for improvement, how to conduct a quality improvement activity, and how to measure your results. Please refer to the toolkit link in the ‘Related Resources’ section to access this information (available soon).
The World Health Organisation’s process for building a strategy for quality of care:
Other leaders in quality improvement are:
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
The Institute of Healthcare Improvement
The Improvement Foundation
What is Quality Improvement?
Quality improvement is a system that can be used to regularly review and refine processes in order to improve them, which will in turn impact positively on the care of and health outcomes for your patients.
A quality improvement approach can be used to review structures, systems and processes to enhance patient care, outcomes and safety. Both patient and practice data should be used to determine where quality improvement can effectively occur.
The RACGP defines quality improvement as “An activity used to monitor, evaluate or improve the quality of health care delivered by the practice.”
Examples of how quality improvement can be used in primary care are as follows:
- Clinical audits
- PDSA cycles
- Research and evidenced-based journal clubs
- Small group education sessions
- Accreditation processes.
Quality Improvement Practice Incentive Program (PIP)
The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) drives quality care in the general practice sector by providing incentive payments to practices in specific areas of care. These payments impact positively on the well-being of patients.
The Quality Improvement PIP was scheduled to be released in May 2018; however, this timeframe was delayed until 01 May 2019. At this time, the following changes will occur:
The following five incentive payments will cease and will be rolled into the QI PIP:
- Quality prescribing
- Cervical screening
- General practitioner aged care access.
The six PIPs that will remain unchanged are:
- After hours
- Rural loading
- Indigenous Health
- Procedural General Practitioner Payment.
The new QI PIP will allow practices to implement changes that are relevant to them and their patient population. This new incentive aims to improve access to care, detection and management of chronic conditions, and quality, safety, accountability and performance.
For ongoing and up to date information about the QI PIP from the Commonwealth Department of Health, please go to this link.
Quadruple AIM and Bodenheimer’s 10 Building Blocks for Primary Care
HNECC PHN is committed to the Quadruple AIM which encompasses enhancing patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs and improving the work life of health care providers.
Bodenheimer’s ‘10 Building Blocks for Primary Care’ also underpins the success of high-performing primary care.
A central component of fulfilling the Quadruple Aim and Bodenheimer’s 10 Building Blocks for Primary Care is to have a person-centred approach.
In a Person-Centred Health System, the person, their families and carers are at the centre of how care and is designed, planned, communicated and delivered. This is because ultimately, it is the values, resources and actions of the person and their carers that are the key determinants of health outcomes.
Every community has differing characteristics and it is ideal for a practice to identify its patient population, particularly if it has a high number coming from priority and diverse populations. These populations might include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- People living with a disability
- People who identify as part of the LGBTQI community
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
- Migrants including asylum seekers or those on long-term student visas
- Patients experiencing mental illness
- Homeless people
Ensuring vulnerable patients are identified and treated equitably is important for identifying disease early and for better health outcomes.
Although General Practices have been practicing health promotion for years, it is now generally agreed that applying a systematic approach to health promotion and illness prevention strategies can influence population health outcomes.
The RACGP Standards for General Practice 5th edition has a criterion (C4.1) directly related to health promotion and preventative care.
HealthPathways is an online health information portal for GPs and other primary health clinicians, to be used at the point of care. It provides information on how to assess and manage medical conditions, and how to refer patients to local specialists and services in the timeliest way.
As HealthPathways is a dynamic collaboration between local primary health care clinicians and the Local Health District there are separate portals for both the Hunter New England and Central Coast regions.
Up to date, evidence-based resources for patients are available on the companion PatientInfo site which is not password protected and freely available to all members of the community.
Limited health literacy is associated with poor health and is a significant problem in Australia. Approximately 40% of Australian adults can understand and apply health information in the way it is usually presented. This means that six out of ten Australian adults are not able to make informed choices about their health, or the care that they receive.
HNECC PHN recognises the importance of clear communication in ensuring safe and high-quality health care, including the need for health consumers being able to access, understand and appropriately act on health-related information. HNECC PHN has developed a Health Literacy Guide to help service providers produce health information that is appropriate for all consumers, including those with low health literacy.