Methods: We analysed over 10,000 clinical audit records to assess quality of Type 2 diabetes care of patients in 132 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health centres in five states/territories participating in the ABCD project for varying periods between 2005 and 2012. Process indicators of quality of care for each patient were calculated by determining the proportion of recommended guideline scheduled services that were documented as delivered. Multilevel regression models were used to quantify the amount of variation in Type 2 diabetes service delivery attributable to health centre or patient level factors and to identify those factors associated with greater adherence to best practice guidelines.
Results: Health centre factors that were independently associated with adherence to best practice guidelines included longer participation in the CQI program, remoteness of health centres, and regularity of client attendance. Significantly associated patient level variables included greater age, and number of co-morbidities and disease complications. Health centre factors explained 37% of the differences in level of service delivery between jurisdictions with patient factors explaining only a further 1%.
Conclusions: At the health centre level, Type 2 diabetes service delivery could be improved through long term commitment to CQI, encouraging regular attendance (for example, through patient reminder systems) and improved recording and coordination of patient care in the complex service provider environments that are characteristic of non-remote areas.