Quality Improvement

Quality in general practice

Practices need to engage in activities to improve quality and safety for patients in areas such as practice structures, systems, processes and clinical care.

The RACGP standards for general practice indicate focusing on quality improvement should be based on evidence produced from the practice's own data.

One way this can be gathered is data audit and analysis from the practice’s clinical database, using a clinical audit data extraction tool. Measuring quality focuses on a multi-dimensional approach of the interactions between structure, processes and outcomes.

The new QI PIP

A new PIP - the Quality Improvement Incentive will start on 1 May 2019. This PIP is designed to encourage improvements in quality care, enhance capacity, improve access and improve health outcomes for patients. We are still awaiting final details about the PIP but we have been advised that practices will need to upload their databases (de-identified) to Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, who will use the information to target population health needs. Click here for the latest information regarding the new Quality Improvement PIP.

Why are quality records important?

Quality health records are essential to all practices. They facilitate the safe, accurate sharing of health information between health professionals to achieve safe and effective patient care.

The auditing of your practice’s data, processes and systems is important. The audit outcomes can indicate target areas for health record QI, such as:

  • completeness of content in patient health records like allergy status, smoking status and other health summary information
  • consistency in standardising processes for entering data in line with a nationally recognised coding system
  • the ability to access, share and retrieve recorded information in a timely manner
Focusing on clinical quality improvement

Practices can focus on activities specifically designed to improve individual care or the health of their entire practice population. For example, a clinical QI activity could focus on improving the care of individuals with diabetes.

Why do I need a data extraction tool?

Data extraction tools are designed to make analysis of your data as simple and as easy as possible. It lets you look for sources of revenue, build and maintain disease registers and even highlight coding errors. These tools are essential for helping your practice profitability and your patient care. CESPHN supports practices that use Pencat and now offer Polar as another data extraction tool.

Who can see my data?

At this stage if you want to participate in the new QIP you must upload your de-identified data base to CESPHN. At no point does any identifiable patient data leave your practice. The data extraction tool deidentifies your data at your practice and sends the encrypted data securely to us. It does not upload any of your financial information. Privacy is our top priority. Depending on which extraction tool you use and how it is set up, your data may be uploaded automatically. Contact your Practice Support Officer for more information.

Getting started with QI

Quality Improvement generally follows these simple steps:

  • Utilise data extraction tool to conduct clinical audit
  • Record outcomes of clinical audit
  • Document proposed actions following clinical audit, including delegated responsibilities
  • Keep evidence of implementation
  • Document follow up plans
  • pdf Sample Quality Improvement Plan (266 KB)

We realise that every practice has different areas of interest in which they may want to undertake a Quality Improvement Activity (QIA). However, if you are new to QI and just want to get started, we have developed some “Step by Step QIA’s” which have been tried and tested in practices within our region. As we refine more activities we will update the menu below. Please feedback any comments so we can continue to develop them and feel free to share with us any of the QIA’s that you may be working on too. Please send any comments or feedback to practicesupport@cesphn.com.au or pcmn@cesphn.com.au.

To help you with your QIA we have developed very simple POLAR walkthroughs to compliment the ones on the POLAR Website:

Official POLAR Walkthroughs (you will need your user name and password to gain access).

 

 

How can we support your practice?
  • Strategies to embed QI in your practice
  • How to analyse your practices own data to identify areas for QI
  • Assist with goal setting and activities
  • Measuring quality improvement in your practice
  • Progress reports and feedback
  • For further information please contact your Practice Support Officer on 1300 986 991
Data extraction tools are designed to make analysis of your data as simple and as easy as possible. It lets you look for sources of revenue, build and maintain disease registers and even highlight coding errors. These tools are essential for helping your practice profitability and your patient care. CESPHN is in the process of phasing out our support of Pencat (link) and now offer Polar (link) as our preferred data extraction tool.

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