The Improvement Foundation, Australia’s leading provider of data-driven quality improvement solutions for the primary healthcare sector, has implemented a new ‘Closing the Gap’ dashboard in its online quality improvement (qi) portal – qiConnect. The new dashboard, combined with IF’s Closing the Gap: Measure and Act initiative, is available for free to general practice users, and is the first of its kind available for mainstream general practices.
According to a national survey, up to 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians visit a general practice for their health care needs [i]. The Closing the Gap dashboard enables general practitioners to see at a glance how many of their patient population are recorded as identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
They will also see a range of other data relating to this patient group including: the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients who have had a health assessment in the last 12 months, how many have a diagnosis of diabetes recorded, and how many with diabetes have had a blood sugar result recorded in the past 12 months. General practices can also see a comparison to the practices’ non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data, and to a national average achieved through hundreds of practices participating in IF’s qiCommunity.
Once the general practice has a better understanding of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient population, and how they are meeting their health care needs, specific activities can be undertaken to improve the delivery of care and the health outcomes of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
Emma Pullen is the Practice Manager at the Walkerston GP Superclinic. “Two years ago we took the first steps towards identifying our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients so we could provide them with culturally capable health care. As we make changes to our services, regularly reviewing our data is key to identifying what changes are having the most effect. The new Closing the Gap dashboard enables us to see at a glance where we are doing well and where we can further improve our services for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait patients.”
Colin Frick, CEO of the Improvement Foundation, encourages all general practices to take steps to improve the services they provide to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. “We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people can expect to live around 10 years less than other Australians, and that they experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.”
Colin continues, “General practice teams have strong relationships with their patients. Through past Closing the Gap initiatives, we have demonstrated what can be achieved when general practices focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care. When they can clearly see any gaps and identify opportunities for improvement, it makes a big difference.”
“This is where the Closing the Gap dashboard really comes into its own. After some basic steps to submit quality indicators, we will be able to demonstrate to the general practice team any gaps in their provision of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Then the practice team can work towards making changes that help their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients live longer, healthier lives,” says Colin.
The dashboard uses established and reliable measures developed through IF’s delivery of Australia’s largest primary health care quality improvement collaborative, the Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program and is intentionally focused on diabetes and health checks.
Aboriginal Medical Services and Community Controlled Health Organisations service a large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and currently use regular measurement to improve their services.
The dashboard will support IF’s Closing the Gap: Measure and Act initiative. The initiative will help general practices better respond to specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues.
The Close the Gap: Measure and Act initiative is designed, delivered and funded by the Improvement Foundation and is open to any general practice or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.
For further information or to register for a free qiConnect health service page, which includes the Closing the Gap: Measure and Act dashboard, visit the IF website at www.improve.org.au/ctg
About the Measures
The Closing the Gap Dashboard displays the following measures:
- The proportion of active clients, with a further breakdown of numbers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients; Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients; Clients for whom Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status is not recorded; and Total clients.
- The proportion of health checks completed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients;
- The proportion of clients with a recorded smoking status*
- The proportion of clients recorded as a current smoker*
- The number and proportion of clients recorded as living with diabetes*
- The proportion of clients recorded as living with diabetes, with a HbA1c result recorded within the recommended guideline (timeline);*
- The proportion of clients recorded as living with diabetes, with a most recent HbA1c result of <=7%;*
- The proportion of clients recorded as living with diabetes, with a most recent HbA1c result of >=10%.*
* allows the health service to see the difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients; clients not recorded and total number of clients.
Patient and practice privacy
Patient privacy is protected because no patients’ personal details are submitted to qiConnect. The information extracted from the practice clinical system is all de-identified and aggregated data, so the data extracted is in numbers of patients only. Each practice’s dashboard is restricted by a username and password given to the specific practice.
qiConnect is an innovative data portal that helps healthcare organisations use and share data to manage the implementation of meaningful quality improvement programs and for health services to monitor and track improvements over time. To learn more visit: http://www.improve.org.au/qiConnect.
Available for interview:
- Improvement Foundation, CEO, Colin Frick
- Emma Pullen, Practice Manager, Walkerston GP Superclinic & Marian GP Superclinic.
[i]“Sixty per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples went to a doctor if they had a problem with their health, and 30% reported they went to an ‘Aboriginal medical service’”. Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, 2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 Report, AHMAC, Canberra, p157 http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/Publishing.nsf/Content/F766FC3D8A697685CA257BF0001C96E8/$File/hpf-2012.pdf
The Improvement Foundation
The Improvement Foundation (Australia) Ltd was established in Adelaide in 2006 as a not-for-profit organisation.
What we do
We provide expertise in the development and delivery of quality improvement techniques, such as the Collaborative methodology, to bring about small and large system change. We support improvement work by providing specialist change management advice, and leading edge IT systems, which enable robust measurement of improvement efforts.
P: 08 8422 7499
M: 0400 104 948