Get your Q pulse racing

Quality improvement (QI) aims to improve data quality resulting in better patient outcomes. It is an increasingly important aspect of practice management processes, and GPs need to be familiar with the key principles of QI and its implementation.

We currently operate three QI programs; Q Pulse, Diabetes Breakthrough Collaborative and Putting Data into Practice. These programs work to improve practice data collection, support chronic disease management and provide regular progress feedback.

Q Pulse is an innovative cardiovascular disease (CVD) research project that assists general practices in identifying high-risk CVD patients. Q Pulse also allows practices to review how they meet current targets for monitoring and prescription of recommended preventive care medications and lifestyle options.

More than half a million hospitalisations in Australia are CVD related, thus it is imperative that continuous improvement in prevention and management is necessary. The use of electronic decision support tools has been shown to be highly useful and has allowed better identification of certain diseases that could have been missed.1

Practices participating in QI will have complimentary access to the electronic decision support tool, HealthTracker, and clinical software CAT4 (formerly PenCAT) and Topbar, to help assess absolute cardiovascular risk and tailor management advice.

Q Pulse has engaged with 43 practices in the CESPHN region to date, with 29 active and submitting monthly data. Reporting indicators include blood pressure, cholesterol, waist measurement, smoking status and diabetes.

There have been marked improvements for the 17 practices currently in the intervention phase. A participating practice recorded a 2.8% decrease in their high risk CVD patient population, an indication of improved coding and identification of CVD risk.

RACGP has made changes to the current triennial CPD requirements. GPs are still required to accrue 120 category 1 points, however, 40 of those points need to demonstrate participation in QI activities. Q Pulse offers 40 category 1 QI-specific points. The next intervention phase for Q Pulse will begin in August 2016.

For more information about Q Pulse or any of the QI programs offered by CESPHN, please visit our website or email CVD Research Project Officer, Amy Zhong.


1 Wan, Qing et al. "Qualitative Evaluation of a Diabetes Electronic Decision Support Tool: Views of Users". BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 12.1 (2012): 61. Web.