Everyone who works in healthcare has a part to play in creating a safe and high-quality healthcare system. Quality improvement is the science of process management.
Quality improvement draws on a wide variety of methodologies, approaches and tools. However, many of these share some simple underlying principles, including a focus on:
- understanding the problem, with a particular emphasis on what the data tell you,
- understanding the processes and systems within the organisation—particularly the patient pathway—and whether these can be simplified,
- analysing the demand, capacity and flow of the service,
- choosing the tools to bring about change, including leadership and clinical engagement, skills development, and staff and patient participation,
- evaluating and measuring the impact of a change.
Regardless of the approach used, how the change is implemented—including factors such as leadership, clinical involvement and resources—is vital.
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC)
The Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care describes a vision for safe and high-quality care for all Australians, and sets out the actions needed to achieve this vision. This ‘Getting started’ document will help you and your team to start putting the Framework into action. It highlights several of the Framework’s 21 areas of action that particularly apply to healthcare providers and describes some examples of activities to help you.
Palliative Care Australia—National Standards
Assessment Program (accessed through CareSearch) A template to support the planning and implementation of a palliative care quality improvement program for a primary care practice or community palliative care collaboration.
NSW Health Agency for Clinical Intervention (ACI)
A flexible guide for health services to help them meet the needs of people approaching and reaching the end of life, their families and carers. The Blueprint can be implemented across all settings of care—acute, subacute, aged and community spanning across public, private, not-for-profit and community sectors.
This online resource aims to guide services and Local Health Districts in constructing their own, localised models of care. It emphasises that everyone can have a role to play in supporting or providing care to people approaching and reaching the end of life.
Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC)
This package supports palliative care services to effectively use the PCOC audit tools to improve compliance of clinical assessment and identify areas for improvement.
Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) Incentive
The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) Incentive commencing in May 2019. The new measure aims to improve:
- access to care
- detection and management of chronic conditions, and
- quality, safety, performance and accountability.
General practices eligible to participate in the Practice Incentive Program can apply for the Quality Improvement Incentive from 1 May 2019. In doing this the practice must commit to:
- quality improvement activities, and
- sharing de-identified general practice data. This will be against agreed measures.
Find further information at Quality Improvements in General Practice—implementation of the Practice Incentives Program—Budget 2017–18.