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Australian primary care collaboratives program
The Australian primary care collaboratives program supports general practices to improve clinical outcomes, help maintain good health for those with chronic and complex conditions, and improve access to Australian general practice by promoting a culture of quality improvement in primary health care.
The program comprises of a number of key elements:
- program topics - diabetes, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic disease prevention and self-management, and access to general practice services
- learning workshops - provide participants with the opportunity to consider how to improve care and practice systems, and access to ideas and experiences from fellow practices
- activity periods with local support - during the periods between and after the learning workshops, practices test and implement improvements through cycles of small incremental changes
- data reporting and feedback - participating practices submit monthly data to an online data reporting system, and are provided analysis and feedback on the impact of their improvements over time
- spread and sustainability - participating divisions and Medicare Locals are encouraged to spread knowledge of the collaboratives methodology to general practices not otherwise participating in the program, and to apply their knowledge of the methodology to other topic areas.
Results from the program indicate that it has affected key changes within Australian primary care and better health outcomes for patients with chronic disease, including:
- improving patient care through better management of chronic disease
- increased best practice care through better use of information systems (both medical and business systems)
- evolving roles among practice staff to better meet patient demand
- a cultural shift from individual patient care to population based care.
Phase one of the program was implemented from July 2004 to October 2007 and was managed by Flinders University. Phase two commenced in November 2007 and was managed by the Improvement Foundation. Phase three commenced in June 2011 and is again managed by the Improvement Foundation. The Improvement Foundation is currently implementing phase four of the program, which runs from July 2013 to June 2015.
Abstract adapted from the Department of Health
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