Clinical Indicators for Primary Health
The work of the VHA clinical governance project in developing a set of preliminary indicators for community health is being progressed at both a state and national level.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) is undertaking a project to develop practice-level indicators of safety and quality for primary health care. The supporting research is being conducted by eHealth Services Research Group (eHSRG) from the University of Tasmania. The project will recommend a set/s of national safety and quality practice-level indicators for primary healthcare by July 2011. These indicators are intended to support a process of routine review of primary care process and outcome measures to inform local quality improvement actions at the practice level. "Practice level" refers to organisations, teams and individual practitioners providing primary health care services, excluding General Practice.
The Victorian Department of Health is embarking on a project to pilot the use and benchmarking of indicators for primary health. The indicators will include those developed through the VHA Clinical Governance Project and the oral health indicators developed by Dental Health Services Victoria. Because the indicators are intended to support local quality improvement, the major accrediting bodies (ACHS-EQuIP and QIC-QICSA) will participate in the project and support members with technical capacity to benchmark. The project includes training about use and benchmarking to inform quality improvement. Governance for the project will include sector representatives, the ACSQHC, the Victorian Quality Council (VQC), VHA, accrediting bodies, and the Victorian Department of Health (Integrated Care Branch/Partnerships and Primary Health Unit).
VHA has provided significant input into both the both the national and state initiatives through discussion papers, consultation and participation in reference groups.
National Quality Standards
The Australian Health Ministers in 2008 endorsed, in principle, a model national accreditation scheme. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has been working on the development of ten national standards that will apply to high risk health services, those that undertake invasive procedures, from July 2011. A forum was held in February 2011 by the Victorian Department of Health to obtain stakeholder feedback to inform the development of its position on accreditation requirements for public health services in Victoria. The department was seeking feedback particularly on the need for any standards additional to those described in the National Standards to be undertaken by health service in Victoria. The feedback from a wide range of stakeholder groups indicated that there was a need for additional standards in planning, governance and nutrition, there needed to be a focus on quality improvement rather than assurance in the application of the standards and any additional standards should be incorporated into a single process through licensed accreditation agencies.
The department is in now in the process of finalising any additional requirements and reach of the new national standards in Victorian health services.