Quality of Care – ABCD National Research Partnership

This project complemented a NHMRC project focused on understanding variation in quality of care and examining strategies that have been effective in improving the delivery of care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. One hundred and seventy primary health care centres using the One21seventy clinical and system assessment tools voluntarily provided their de-identified audit data to the Partnership for analysis.

The Partnership brought together stakeholders from across jurisdictions and levels of the health system to support and guide research on priority primary health care system issues. Stakeholders included peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations, relevant government health departments and lead research institutions. The project aimed to:

  • investigate the variation in quality of care in Indigenous primary health care (PHC) centres
  • explore the underlying factors associated with variation at the health centre and regional level
  • identify and examine specific strategies that have been effective in improving primary care clinical performance
  • work with health service staff, management and policy makers to enhance the effective implementation of successful strategies.

One of the most relevant outcomes from the Partnership project was building research and CQI capacity broadly across the PHC sector including health centre staff, regional research officers, CQI facilitators, other partners and across the PHC system generally. Key areas of development included research skills; understanding and use of CQI data; working in partnership across sectors and jurisdictions; and developing processes for improving care.

Some practical products generated through this project included youth health and sexual health tools and protocols, and consumer perceptions of quality of care tools and processes. In addition, plain language evidence briefs were produced to translate ABCD project research findings for health centre staff and board members. They included information on demonstrated improvements in PHC service delivery with long term commitment to CQI and clear messages on what makes uptake and use of CQI easier or more difficult and how difficulties can be overcome.

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