System-Level Action Required for Wide-Scale Improvement in Quality of Primary Health Care: Synthesis of Feedback from an Interactive Process to Promote Dissemination and Use of Aggregated Quality of Care Data

Jodie Bailie, Alison Laycock, Veronica Matthews, Ross Stewart Bailie

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    Abstract

    Introduction: There is an enduring gap between recommended practice and care that is actually delivered; and there is wide variation between primary health care (PHC) centers in delivery of care. Where aspects of care are not being done well across a range of PHC centers, this is likely due to inadequacies in the broader system. This paper aims to describe stakeholders’ perceptions of the barriers and enablers to addressing gaps in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chronic illness care and child health, and to identify key drivers for improvement.

    Methods: This paper draws on data collected as part of a large-scale continuous quality improvement project in Australian Indigenous PHC settings. We undertook a qualitative assessment of stakeholder feedback on the main barriers and enablers to addressing gaps in care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and in chronic illness care. Themes on barriers and enablers were further analyzed to develop a “driver diagram,” an improvement tool used to locate barriers and enablers within causal pathways (as primary and secondary drivers), enabling them to be targeted by tailored interventions.

    Results: We identified 5 primary drivers and 11 secondary drivers of high-quality care, and associated strategies that have potential for wide-scale implementation to address barriers and enablers for improving care. Perceived barriers to addressing gaps in care included both health system and staff attributes. Primary drivers were: staff capability to deliver high-quality care; availability and use of clinical information systems and decision support tools; embedding of quality improvement processes and data-driven decision-making; appropriate and effective recruitment and retention of staff; and community capacity, engagement and mobilization for health. Suggested strategies included mechanisms for increasing clinical supervision and support, staff retention, reorientation of service delivery, use of information systems and community health literacy.

    Conclusion: The findings identify areas of focus for development of barrier-driven, tailored interventions to improve health outcomes. They reinforce the importance of system-level action to improve health center performance and health outcomes, and of developing strategies to address system-wide challenges that can be adapted to local contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number86
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalFrontiers in Public Health
    Volume4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2016

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