National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework

Strategic Outcome 4: Improve quality, safety, performance and accountability

Page last updated: April 2013

Consumers and providers are engaged and collaborate on a continuous improvement cycle to enhance the safety and quality of primary health care services.

Potential Actions

4.1 Ensure performance indicators are in place to determine whether primary health care services are being used as, when and how they should be.

When undertaking major system change it is important to ensure that new or emerging practices are shown to be providing best-practice consumer care. This can be achieved through alignment of performance frameworks and establishment of shared performance indicators. However, it is equally important to ensure that reporting arrangements do not unnecessarily add to the administrative burden of service providers and health care organisations.

Under the National Health Reforms, the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) is responsible for reporting on the performance of the health system across Medicare Local catchment areas through the Healthy Communities Reports. Top of page

4.2 Support the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to develop safety and quality standards for primary health care, with the expectation that they will support integration by developing standards that are, where appropriate, consistent with those of the acute sector.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has been established to lead and coordinate improvements in safety and quality in health care in Australia. A key role of the Commission includes the development of national safety and quality standards that can be applied to primary health care.

This includes the development of national clinical standards and guidelines with the National Lead Clinicians Group and the National Health and Medical Research Council. The development of clinical standards and guidelines, and strategies for their implementation, is identified as a priority to maximise health outcomes for patients.

To support better integration across health sectors, it is expected that primary health care standards, where appropriate, will be consistent with acute care standards. Options may include developing a single set of standards applying across both sectors, or developing a separate set of standards for primary health care that builds on the Commission’s work in the acute care sector.

Into the future, Governments will work with the Commission, the National Lead Clinicians Group, and with primary health care providers and consumers to promote the uptake of these primary health care standards. Top of page

4.3 Collaborate to ensure the effective and appropriate collection and exchange of information and data to support performance improvement in primary health care.

Data collection and analysis is an essential activity to support improvement in performance, quality and safety within the primary health care sector. It is also important in ensuring transparency and accountability.

The Commonwealth and States are committed to improve the sharing of information to enable greater performance monitoring and accountability. This will be facilitated through a greater focus on information and data sharing to be pursued through bilateral negotiations.