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        • » Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services (QAAMS) Program

Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services (QAAMS) Program



The Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services (QAAMS) Program was developed to assist health workers with the management of diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The program involves point of care pathology testing using a medical instrument designed to measure haemoglobin in A1c and the urine albumin: creatinine ratio for the control of diabetes. It is a culturally appropriate and clinically effective management service performed mainly by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Health Practitioners within a quality management framework.

A website has been developed for the program and includes information on:

In December 2015 the health professionals working on the QAAMS program were authorised to use HbA1c testing to diagnose diabetes in their clients. A Medicare rebate is available for this testing.

The program is funded by the Australian Government and partner with Flinders University and RCPA Quality Assurance Programs.

Abstract adapted from Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services


Anne Shephard
QAAMS Assistant Program Manager
Ph: (08) 8201 7555
Fax: (08) 8201 7666

Related publications

Shephard M, O’Brien C, Burgoyne A, Croft J, Garlett T, Barancek K, Halls H, McAteer B, Motta L, Shephard A (2016)

Review of the cultural safety of a national Indigenous point-of-care testing program for diabetes management.

Australian Journal of Primary Health; 22(4): 368-374

Shephard M(editor) (2016)

A practical guide to global point-of-care testing.

Clayton, Vic: CSIRO Publishing

Shephard M, Causer L, Guy R (2016)

Point-of-care testing in rural, remote and Indigenous settings.

In: Shephard M, ed. A practical guide to global point-of-care testing. Clayton, Vic: CSIRO Publishing: 343-354

Point-of-care testing (POCT) refers to pathology testing performed in a clinical setting at the time of patient consultation, generating a rapid test result that enables informed and timely clinical action to be taken on patient care.

A practical guide to global point-of-care testing shows health professionals how to set up and manage POCT services under a quality-assured, sustainable, clinically and culturally effective framework, as well as understand the wide global scope and clinical applications of POCT.

Abstract adapted from authors

Spaeth BA, Shephard MDS, Schatz S (2014)

Point-of-care testing for haemoglobin A1c in remote Australian Indigenous communities improves timeliness of diabetes care.

Rural and Remote Health; 14: 2849

Retrieved 30 October 2014 from

Khalil H, Halls H, Chambers H, Walker J, Shephard MDS (2013)

Managing chronic diseases in rural aged care facilities using point-of-care testing systems.

Rural and Remote Health; 13: 2597

Retrieved 29 July 2013 from

Shephard M (2013)

Point-of-Care Testing in Australia: the status, practical advantages, and benefits of community resiliency.

Point of Care Testing; 12(1): 41-45

Shephard MDS, Spaeth B, Mazzachi BC, Auld M, Schatz S, Loudon J, Rigby J, Daniel V (2012)

Design, implementation and initial assessment of the Northern Territory point-of-care testing program.

Australian Journal of Rural Health; 20(1): 16-21

McAteer B (2012)

The QAAMS Program: quality assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services program [ppt].

Paper presented at the Living longer stronger: AH & MRC chronic disease conference 2012. 19 June 2012, Sydney

Jones GRD, Barker G, Goodall I, Schneider H-G, Shephard MDS, Twigg SM (2011)

Change of HbA1c reporting to the new SI units.

Medical Journal of Australia; 195(1): 45-46

Shephard MDS, Gill J (2010)

The national QAAMS Program – A practical example of PoCT working in the community.

Clinical Biochemist Reviews; 31(3): 105-109

Marley JV, Davies S, Coleman K, Hayhow BD, Brennan G, Mein JK, Nelson C, Atkinson D, Maguire GP (2007)

Point-of-care testing of capillary glucose in the exclusion and diagnosis of diabetes in remote Australia.

Medical Journal of Australia; 186(10): 500-503

Shephard MDS (2007)

The development and application of point-of-care pathology testing (POCT) models for the early detection and management of diabetes and renal disease in Indigenous medical services.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, The University of Adelaide: Adelaide

Shephard MDS, Mazzachi BC, Shephard AK, Burgoyne T, Dufek A, Ah Kit J, Mills D, Dunn D (2006)

Point-of-care testing in Aboriginal hands: a model for chronic disease prevention and management in Indigenous Australia.

Point of Care; 5(4): 168-176

Shephard M (2006)

Cultural and clinical effectiveness of the 'QAAMS' Point-of-Care Testing Model for diabetes management in Australian Aboriginal medical services.

Clinical Biochemist Reviews; 27(3): 161-170

Shephard MDS, Gill JP (2006)

The analytical quality of point-of-care testing in the 'QAAMS' model for diabetes management in Australian Aboriginal medical services.

Clinical Biochemist Reviews; 27(4): 185–190

Shephard MDS, Gill JP (2005)

An innovative Australian point-of-care model for urine albumin: creatinine ratio testing that supports diabetes management in Indigenous medical services and has international application.

Annals of Clinical Biochemistry; 42(3): 208-215

This article outlines the importance of measuring urine albumin:creatinine ratio in Indigenous diabetics, as a diabetes management tool, and for the early detection of end-stage renal failure. A program was established to monitor microalbuminuria in Indigenous diabetics at 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services across Australia, and health workers were recruited and trained in order to carry out the tests. The findings show desirable performance specifications of the new testing tool with considerable potential for Indigenous and other communities nationally and internationally.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Martin DD, Bulsara MK, Shephard MDS, Freeman H, Jones TW, Davis EA, Maguire GP (2005)

Point-of-care testing of HbA1c and blood glucose in a remote Aboriginal Australian community.

Medical Journal of Australia; 182(10): 524-527

Shephard MDS (2004)

Point-of-care testing in the Indigenous rural environment: the Australian experience.

In: Price C, Hicks J, ASt John, eds. Point-of-care testing. Washington DC: American Association of Clinical Chemistry Press: 293-301

Shephard MDS, Mundraby K (2003)

Assisting diabetes management through point-of-care HbA1c testing: the 'QAAMS' program for Aboriginal health workers.

Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal; 27(4): 12-18

Shephard MDS, Gill JP (2003)

Results of an innovative education, training and quality assurance program for point-of-care HbA1c testing using the Bayer DCA 2000 in Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Clinical Biochemist Reviews; 24(iv): 123-130

Shephard M (2003)

Point-of-care testing in the Aboriginal community.

Australian Journal of Medical Science; 24(1): 10-16

Quality assurance for Aboriginal medical services program: education, training and quality assurance for point-of-care Haemoglobin A1c testing in Aboriginal medical services (2003)

Shephard M

This brochure outlines the importance and benefits of the Quality Assurance for Aboriginal Medical Services (QAAMS) program, developed by Flinders Medical Centre. The program promotes the use of point-of-care technology to support diabetes management in Aboriginal medical services. It also explains that Aboriginal community controlled health services are entitled to a Medicare rebate for each HbA1c test that is performed. This rebate has ensured that the QAAMS program is self-funding and self-sustaining. The brochure has a tear-off section for those interested in joining the program or learning more about it and has been reproduced here with the kind permission of Mark Shephard, QAAMS Program Manager.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Evaluated publications

Shephard MD, Mazzachi BC, Watkinson L, Shephard AK, Laurence C, Gialamas A, Bubner T (2009)

Evaluation of a training program for device operators in the Australian Government's Point of Care Testing in General Practice Trial: issues and implications for rural and remote practices.

Rural and Remote Health; (9): 1189

Retrieved from


Last updated: 23 March 2018
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