Lessons from the Best

The effectiveness of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) initiatives varies considerably between Indigenous primary health care (PHC) centres.  We aim to enhance understanding of how the quality of Indigenous PHC can be improved through the application of systems theory within a qualitative paradigm to understand how contextual factors interact to facilitate the success of CQI initiatives within a service.

Specifically, the research aims to investigate the following questions:

  • What strategies are utilised by services that are able to produce consistent improvement in quality of care using CQI tools (“high improvers; HIMPS”) in terms of broad engagement of the clinical workforce in CQI initiatives?
  • What strategies are used by HIMPS to promote and support a stable, sufficient and skilled clinical workforce able to participate effectively in CQI?
  • How do HIMPS build, nurture and utilise linkages with organisations in the broader health system that will strengthen and support CQI efforts?
  • How do other broader contextual factors, for example, funding and policy platforms, influence the response of services to CQI initiatives?

*HIMPS: High improving primary health care centres

Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service is an Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) providing holistic health services to Indigenous clients and visitors living in and around Katherine.

As the centre of the eastern Torres Strait cluster, Darnley Island Primary Health Centre provides services to Stephen Island and Mer Island (Murray Island).

The Yorke (Masig) Island Primary Health Centre is the main clinic for the central Torres Strait cluster and is the base for staff servicing primary health centres on Warraber, Coconut and Yam islands.

The Yarralin Health Centre is located in Yarralin, also known as Walangeri, an Aboriginal community of approximately 350 people, located 382km south-west of Katherine.

Batchelor Primary Health Care Centre is managed by Top End Remote, Department of Health, Northern Territory, and provides primary health care  and emergency services to the residents of Batchelor Community and outlying areas.

The Fitzroy Valley Health Partnership began formally in 2000. The partnership is between WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services (NCHS). This comprises a hospital providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services as well as a population health service.

The research team and the majority of site participants gathered in Cairns on the 14th-15th August 2014 for the first project workshop.  The workshop was a successful event and involved discussion around research methodology, data collection tools and progress plans.

The design of our project logo represents knowledge and education, history and culture.

Learning from the best to better the rest; sharing, learning, educating.  The key to better understanding Primary Health Care and breaking down the barriers improving access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It also represents unison working together hand in hand having the same goal and passion to work closer in closing the gap.

The project team thanks Luke Duffy of Duffy’s Artworks, Mount Louisa, Townsville, north Queensland for his beautiful design.