Quality improvement is at the core of Brisbane South PHN

Brisbane South PHN welcomes the release of the Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement Measures (PIPQIM): National report on the first year of data 2020-21. The report provides a snapshot of 10 measures of population health in our region, and can be used to help improve patient care and inform health planning.

Overall the report found that the region served by Brisbane South PHN has higher than average rates for people who have never smoked, people with height and weight recorded, people who are a healthy weight, and recording of alcohol consumption status. The results of the report also indicated a need to strengthen our focus on the remaining 7 other PIPQI measures, which will be our focus for improvement activities in the year ahead.

“As GPs we are aware of the essential function, we play in the health care system and have a strong commitment to continue to improve as individuals, as practices and as a primary care community. Quality improvement is part of who we are. Nevertheless, we acknowledge we all work in unique circumstances with different populations, as a result, outcomes will always vary,” said Dr Bruce Willet, General Practitioner at Victoria Point Surgery and Chair of RACGP Queensland. “Quality improvement is not a competition nor is it a destination. Quality improvement is a continuous journey, and the joy of the journey is that it never ends but continues to reward.”

92% of eligible general practices in Brisbane South PHN participate in regular, structured quality improvement activities and we want to extend our thanks to practices for their commitment, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exhausting time for all general practice and primary care staff and we want to take this opportunity to thank you for your commitment. Throughout this pandemic we have heard about the pressure on the workforce to balance commitment to prevention and ongoing management of chronic conditions, while navigating uncertain times in a global pandemic.

Brisbane South PHN has strengthened our focus on quality improvement in 2021, with more General Practice Quality Improvement Coordinators providing structured coaching on data-driven quality improvements, including annual practice partnership planning discussions with a strong focus on identification of practice priorities. Our organisation offers a range of quality improvement support for general practices in our region, including:

  • self-paced online learning modules
  • quality improvement toolkits (shared with all PHNs nationally)
  • quality improvement practice plans and coaching
  • benchmark and trend data reports for general practice
  • structured quality improvement programs developed and delivered in conjunction with industry experts such as AGPAL.

We are striving to be a key contributor and leader in shaping the quality improvement landscape across the nation. We also chair the National Improvement Network for PHNs across Australia.

Brisbane South PHN is proud to be partnering with the 292 (92%) eligible general practices participating in the Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement program in our region. From September to November this year, our quality improvement activities are taking a focus on the following priority areas for action:

  • cancer screening
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • healthy weight in children.

We look forward to continuous planning, improvement and other activities in partnership with you on your quality improvement pathway.

Contact the Quality Improvement team to find out more. Download the report here.

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why are the PIPQI reports being released publicly?

The national PIP Eligible Data Set brings together data collated by PHNs (Primary Health Networks) from over 5,700 general practices across 10 Quality Improvement Measures. By publishing this data, it will support general practices and primary health organisations to improve patient care and plan for health needs across Australia.

What patient data is shared with the PHN?

Data that is shared from the practice with the PHN has all identifying and potentially re-identifying patient information removed. For example, names, addresses and Medicare card numbers. Data is then aggregated (“rolled up”) into a new data set – the Population Heath Data Set – with all other practices in the PHN region. This aggregated data set is then provided to the Department of Health as part of Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement (PIPQI) requirements.

I’m concerned about my data being shared. Does this comply with the privacy act?

Yes, all data sharing arrangements comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Australian Privacy Principles, and the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth). Brisbane South PHN has robust data governance processes and procedures in place. These guide how the PHN can collect, store, use, and dispose of the data. Further, no personal information, including identifying or potentially re-identifying information, is shared with the PHN. Data is aggregated to further reduce the likelihood of re-identifiability. It is used to meet PIPQI requirements, and population health planning activities.

What sort of protections are in place to keep the data safe and secure?

Each general practice that participates in the PIPQI has a formal Data Sharing Agreement with Brisbane South PHN. This ensures that processes and systems are in place that support appropriate legislative requirements.

How is Brisbane South PHN performing in comparison to other PHNs?

Overall the report found that the region served by Brisbane South PHN is below the national average in 7 out of 10 of the PIPQI measures; this will help inform our focus for improvement activities in the year ahead.

It can be noted through the report that the Brisbane South PHN patient population has higher rates of:

  • people who have never smoked, compared with the National average of other PHNs (65% vs 62.9%) (QIM 2)
  • people with height and weight recorded (25.5% vs 23.6%) (QIM3)
  • people who are a healthy weight (26.5 vs 25.8) (QIM 3)
  • Recording of alcohol consumption status (60.4 vs 56.2%) (QIM 7).

Within the report it is noted that Brisbane South PHN has identified the following areas as an opportunity to focus our Quality Improvement activities:

  • Recording of HbA1c results for all patients with any diabetes diagnosis (type 1 or type 2 or undefined) (QIM1)
  • Recording of influenza immunisation status for high risk (or priority?) populations i.e. those who are aged 65 and over, those with diagnosed COPD or diabetes (QIM 4, 5, 6)
  • Recording of risk factors to calculate overall CVD risk (44.6% vs 48.5%) (QIM 8)
  • Recording of a blood pressure result for patients with diabetes (56.7% vs 58.7%) (QIM 10).

What is Brisbane South PHN doing to address regional performance in the PIPQI report?

In 2021, Brisbane South PHN underwent a refresh of our general practice support model, focusing on partnership, quality improvement and action. As a result of this we have increased the number of staff available as General Practice Quality Improvement Coordinators to provide structured coaching on data-driven quality Improvements.

We have also taken a shift towards a partnership approach where we will undertake annual practice partnership planning discussions, with a strong focus on identification of practice priorities. We have continued the enhancement of our benchmark and trend reports to add prevention and chronic condition models to support our practices in the collection and understanding of their data to inform and deliver services.

Our organisation offers a range of quality improvement support for general practices in our region including:

  • self-paced online learning modules
  • quality improvement toolkits
  • practice plans and coaching
  • benchmark and trend data reports
  • structured quality improvement programs developed and delivered in conjunction with national clinical leaders and experts.

The Practice Incentives Program (PIP) Quality Improvement (QI) Fact Sheet for General Practices may assist with other queries.