What is quality improvement in health care?
Quality improvement (QI) is the basis of contemporary high-performing primary care. It includes team-based approaches, peer review, reflective practice, best practice and data analysis. It can improve uptake of evidence-based practices for better patient outcomes, better professional development and better system performance.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) defines continuous quality improvement as an ongoing activity undertaken within a general practice with the primary purpose to monitor, evaluate or improve the quality of health care delivered to practice patients.
Evidence shows quality improvement leads to better, safer care – particularly when the whole practice team is involved. It also contributes to a more connected, capable and responsive health system.
The RACGP Standards for general practices (5th edition) recommends practices engage in QI activities that review structures, systems and processes, to aid the identification of required changes to increase the quality of health care delivery and the safety of patients.
How can we help?
Our general practice quality improvement program officers can work with you to develop a Practice Partnership Plan. This identifies specific priorities and objectives that your general practice would like to achieve over 12 months, and how we can tailor our support to suit your needs and support your growth.
We take a data-driven approach to quality improvement, helping practices improve their data collection and management capabilities, then use that data to highlight further improvement and service opportunities.
Practice Partnership Plan and QI Record
We give all practices the opportunity to develop a tailored 12-month practice plan with specific priorities, tools and objectives that matter to your practice. This helps us to work with you in a way that is relevant and helpful to your practice.
Our Practice Partnership Plan (.docx) is simple to complete, and we will help you do this. By identifying your practice’s needs, NWMPHN can better support you and your practice team for the next 12 months.
To complement the Practice Partnership Plan, we have also launched a QI Record (.docx). This simple and intuitive document makes it easy for you to record and review your QI activities. It is also very useful should you ever be audited, as it provides a record of your participation in quality improvement.
Completing the QI Record can also assist you to meet the requirements for the Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) Incentive. PIP QI has two components. Practices must:
- participate in continuous quality improvement
- provide their PIP eligible data set to their local Primary Health Network.
Quality Improvement Guide and Tools
To drive improvements, a whole-of-practice approach is best. The Quality Improvement Guide and Tools shows you how to work as a practice to complete QI activities and includes useful tools, templates and examples. We recommend those new to QI start here.
Quality improvement toolkits
Our self-guided toolkits and workbooks cover a range of topics, with easy-to-follow steps to help your practice assess its performance and make measurable improvements. They include ideas for quality improvement activities, supplemented by useful resources. Your dedicated NWMPHN quality improvement program officer can support you to get the most out of the process. Visit our QI Toolkits page to learn more.
Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement Incentive
General practices can now qualify for an Australian Government payment for their work to improve patient care and health outcomes. The Practice Incentives Program – Quality Improvement (PIP QI) Incentive started in August 2019 to reward quality improvement in general practice.
The aim is to encourage improved detection and management of chronic conditions, and to help GPs focus on issues specific to their practice population.
The new PIP QI incentive replaces five of the previous 11 PIP payments. This change involves general practices providing de-identified data to demonstrate improvements in patient care.