Australian clinicians are highly regarded as skilled professionals committed to meeting the health care needs of their patients. Australians generally trust health service organisations and clinicians to provide safe, high-quality health care.
While the safety and quality of healthcare provided to patients are highly dependent on the skills and performance of the individual practitioner, it is also an organisational responsibility to maintain and manage the standards set by professional organisations and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC). Although there is already a robust system-wide commitment to continuous quality improvement, lapses may occur, resulting in impacts to patient’s wellbeing and the broader healthcare system.
What is Quality Improvement?
Quality Improvement (QI) in General Practice refers to the ongoing monitoring, evaluating, and improving the quality of healthcare services provided to patients.
A standard model used in General Practice to identify problems or areas of improvement is the Clinical Practice Improvement (CPI) methodology. This method involves determining, defining, and diagnosing a problem before developing and implementing interventions.
Once interventions have been identified, we test the solutions using rapid ‘Plan, Do, Study, Act’ (PDSA) cycles. You can use Cubiko’s NEW Quality Improvement cabinet (coming soon) to help you track your improvements.
It is important to note that when you are undertaking your QI activities, they should be based on the findings gathered from your practice’s data. In accordance with the RACGP’s 5th edition standards. Cubiko can help you do this with our NEW Quality Improvement cabinet (coming soon). This cabinet was specifically designed to make performing QI activities easier by helping you look at the metrics that matter, and measuring your improvements in one easy to read dashboard.
Why is Quality Improvement important, and why should I do it?
Undertaking QI activities based on your practice’s information and data is essential for the continued success of your practice. Improving the quality of your structure, systems, and patient safety and care can benefit the practice.
Below are just some of the reasons to participate in QI activities:
- Improved patient outcomes
- PIP QI
Improved patient outcomes
The QI activities undertaken by your practice can help optimise the care you provide to your patients and minimise harm. This is because it embraces a culture of safety, quality, and transparency. Thus, reinforcing the trust, your patients have in you and your practice.
Accreditation in General Practice is not mandatory here in Australia. But it plays an integral role in the safe and quality of the practice. Accreditation is the independent recognition that your practice meets the governing national industry standards requirements set out by the RACGP and endorsed by the ACSQHC. In accordance with the RACGP’s 5th edition standards, a General Practice must meet three core criteria to attain accreditation, which are measured against the standards. Obtaining accreditation demonstrates to your patients that your practice is serious about providing safe and high-quality care.
While accreditation is voluntary here in Australia, many practices elect to obtain accreditation. This is so that they can participate in the Practice Incentives Program for Quality Improvement (PIP QI).
The PIP QI incentive is a payment available to General Practices to support continuous QI in patient outcomes and delivery of quality patient care. It encourages General Practices to provide quality care, enhance capacity, and improve the health outcomes of patients.
Those enrolled in the PIP QI incentive commit to implementing continuous QI activities within their practice. Additionally, they also commit to submitting nationally consistent, de-identified General Practice data measured against ten key Improvement Measures that contribute to local, regional, and national health outcomes.
For more information about the ten Quality Improvement Measures, please refer to the following handout produced by the Department of Health.
Learning from medical errors and identifying perceived risks helps you to prevent the reoccurrence of adverse patient outcomes. Therefore, this activity is a crucial component of any healthcare systems QI and safety activities.
Traditionally, practices review and implement steps for improvement following a patient complaint or adverse patient outcome. Don’t wait to take action. Instead, practices should capitalise on their QI activities to prevent reoccurrence and minimise risk. Thus, leading to a drop in patient complaints and medicolegal claims.
Want to understand more about how Cubiko helps with QI activities? Book in for an online demonstration.
How do I get my team on board?
QI involves many different areas of the practice making QI activities a collaborative effort for the entire practice team. This is necessary to achieve improvements in the quality of care you provide and for your patients’ safety. In addition, actively participating in QI activities allows all team members to come together and share information and voice their opinion on how the practice can improve.
Strategies to encourage the involvement in QI activities include:
- Establishing a Quality Improvement team that encompasses members from all parts of the practice team, i.e., doctors, nurses, administrative staff, management.
- Setting up a QI board in the staff room. It acts as a visual cure to remind the team of the improvements you’re currently tracking and how you are currently performing against your targets. It also acts as a prompt for the team to make suggestions.
- Incorporating QI as a standing agenda item in the team meeting.
How can Cubiko help me with Quality Improvement in my practice?
We recognise how challenging it can be to run a medical practice. There is so much you want to do, to achieve and to improve! But times are tough, you’re time-poor, and you don’t know what areas you should focus on improving.
Fear not because the Cubiko team is here to help! Over the last few months, the Cubiko team has been working to develop an exciting NEW Quality Improvement cabinet (coming soon). This cabinet is specifically designed to help you with your QI activities and help you meet your accreditation and PIP QI requirements.
The Quality Improvement cabinet allows you to review areas of your practice that you feel needs improvement. In addition, it provides a guide to your practice team to participate in and complete QI activities that are specific to your practice. The metrics within the cabinet are curated from other parts of Cubiko which displays your practices past and current performance so you can determine how you are tracking towards your specific goals.
The initial batch of QI pages will focus on areas of improvement that our customers often look to improve within their practice. With plans to expand to focus on other areas in the near future.