First annual report on Quality Improvement Measures in general practices

Findings published in a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) will be used by general practices and primary health organisations to help improve patient care, and improve planning for the health needs across Australia.

The report, Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement Measures: National report on the first year of data 2020-21, brings together de-identified data collated by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) from general practices across 10 measures that empower our understanding of population health.

‘Today’s report is about how information is captured and recorded in the information systems that general practices use, against 10 defined measures,’ said AIHW spokesperson Conan Liu.

 ‘This is the first time we have data from such a comprehensive source coming from 5,700 general practices in Australia included. With over 158 million visits to general practitioners (GPs) each year, the information they receive, are key to the health and wellbeing of Australians.

‘The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) Incentive, launched in August 2019, is a payment to general practices to encourage participation in quality improvement activities, aimed at providing improved outcomes for clients through the delivery of high-quality care. The program has reached a key milestone in publishing these results.’

The 10 Improvement Measures focus on areas that represent significant burden on the health of Australians. These include immunisation against influenza among vulnerable populations, cardiovascular disease assessments, and cervical screening. The recording of the information captured in the 10 measures may assist the individual client, general practitioner, and PHNs, in the prevention and management of complex and chronic diseases.

A key measure reports on the proportion of regular clients aged 45 to 74 who have had risk factors recorded to enable cardiovascular disease risk assessment in those without a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. As at July 2021, 48.5% of regular clients aged 45 to 74 had their risk factors assessed (tobacco smoking status, diabetes, blood pressure and lipid levels).

‘These de-identified data are collected through practice visits, and are aggregated and collated by the local PHN. With 83.2% of people visiting a GP at least once a year and on average people having 6.3 visits per year, general practice plays an important part in health care in Australia and this information provides greater insight into what happens in primary care.’ Mr Liu said.

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