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Practice guides and tools

Clinical indicators

The RACGP has developed a set of 16 clinical indicators for Australian general practice. The indicators are a voluntary quality improvement tool and deal exclusively with the safety and quality of clinical care provided by Australian general practices.

Clinical indicators as a quality improvement tool

The College has a long and proud history of keeping general practice at the forefront of the quality care agenda, supporting its members in their pursuit of excellence in patient care and community service.

The dashboard set of 16 clinical indicators provide general practices with a tool that will aid the practice in establishing, implementing and developing processes to monitor and improve the quality of their chosen services. The focus of the indicators remains on the professionalism and diversity of general practice, targeting outcomes that really matter – improved, relevant patient outcomes.

The adoption of clinical indicators will complete a comprehensive suite of safety and quality indicators comprising:

  1. Practice indicators within the RACGP Standards for general practices (4th edition)
  2. Patient experience indicators within the RACGP Standards for general practices (4th edition)
  3. Dashboard set of 16 clinical indicators for Australian general practice.

Development of the clinical indicators

RACGP established an expert advisory group to lead the development of the indicators. After scanning world literature, existing indicator sets and contemporary health issues, a set of 22 indicators was developed that reflected a snapshot of the care general practices provide on a daily basis. No single group of indicators will encompass safety and quality in general practice. The indicators were selected because they cover common presentations, are supported by evidence, are important for safety and quality, and should pose a minimal administrative burden on GPs and practices.

The draft dashboard set of 22 indicators were shared for member and stakeholder consultation in July 2012. Feedback was very positive.

Over a 12 month period in 2013/14 the indicators were piloted. The results of the pilot reduced the number of indicators in our set to 16.

Implementation

The RACGP QI&CPD Program has introduced a quality improvement requirement for GPs in the 2014–16 QI&CPD triennium. Each indicator can be used to implement a quality improvement activity, such as a clinical audit or Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle, or they can be viewed and implemented collectively as a single PDSA cycle. 

RACGP activity applications for PDSA cycles and clinical audit can be utilised to claim QI&CPD points. To access the online activity applications visit www.racgp.org.au and login to the GP dashboard.

The clinical indicator document, below, provides tips on implementation relating to each indicator.

The RACGP is also exploring options to integrate the indicators into clinical software and audit tools. 

Acknowledgment

The RACGP is extremely grateful to all those who provided feedback to our consultation phase. In particular, we wish to thank the GPs that took part in our pilot phase.

This project is supported by an anonymous donation in memory of the untimely death of a young health professional.

Queries may be sent to clinicalindicators@racgp.org.au.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

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