Quality Improvement

Overview - quality in general practice

Practices need to engage in activities to improve quality and safety for patients in areas like 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.

Changes to PIP in general practice

This new measure will bring a new Quality Improvement incentive into the Practice Incentives Program (PIP).

The new QI incentive will aim to improve:

  • access to care
  • detection and management of chronic conditions
  • quality, safety, performance and accountability.

General practices eligible to participate in the PIP can apply for the QI incentive from 1 May 2018.

The practice must commit to:

  • quality improvement activities, and
  • sharing de-identified general practice data. This will be against agreed measures.

Some practice incentive payments will end on 30 April 2018 - these will be for Asthma, Cervical Screening, Diabetes, Aged Care Access and Quality Prescribing.

For more details, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Quality of health records

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 clinical care or the health of their entire practice population. For example, a clinical QI area could focus on improving the care of individuals with diabetes.

Sample processes for an audit of clinical data
  • Conduct clinical audit, utilise a data extraction tool
  • Record outcomes of clinical audit
  • Document proposed actions following clinical audit, including delegated responsibilities
  • Keep evidence of implementation
  • Document follow up plans
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 CESPHN on either 9799 0933 (Ashfield) or 9330 9900 (Kogarah) and ask to speak to a QI officer from the National Health Priorities team
Further information and resources
  • Quality and Safety - RACGP Curriculum for Australian general practice 2016
  • Quality Improvement Activities - RACGP Standards for general practices (4th edition)
  • Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Australian Family Physician - RACGP
  • Sample compliance checklist for quality health records – RACGP
  • Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations Factsheet - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
  • Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations Standard 1 - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care


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