Standards for general practices

Core module

Criterion C4.1 – Health promotion and preventive care

        1. Criterion C4.1 – Health promotion and preventive care

Last revised: 24 Feb 2023


C4.1 A Our patients receive appropriately tailored information about health promotion, illness prevention, and preventive care.

Why this is important

Health promotion focuses on:

  • prevention and protection, rather than treatment
  • populations and individuals
  • factors and behaviours that cause illness and injury, rather than the illness and injury itself.25

Meeting this Criterion

Providing a systematic approach to preventive care

Assessing a patient’s health risks is an important component of preventive care, part of which is early detection of disease. The screening programs for cervical cancer and bowel cancer are good examples of this.

Adopting a systematic approach to health promotion and preventive care can include:

  • conducting patient prevention surveys
  • reviewing and understanding the practice’s patient population and their healthcare needs
  • maintaining a disease register
  • establishing a reminder system
  • maintaining a directory of local services that offer programs to help patients modify their lifestyle.

A reminder system that helps ensure that patients undergo regular screening and checks must also protect the privacy and confidentiality of each patient’s health information.

If you decide to stop using a reminder system, it is good practice to advise patients, so that they can use their own system to ensure that they have regular screenings and checks.

Providing information to patients

Practitioners can provide education about health promotion and preventive care during a consultation. This can be done verbally and by giving patients written and visual information. Patients could be offered interpreters during consultations if necessary, so that they understand the information and care provided.

By providing information in documents such as brochures and fact sheets and on reputable websites, including your own, you will be encouraging patients to select information on health issues that may affect or interest them.

You can also tailor information so that it caters for your patient population.26

For example:

  • you can modify or add to the information in documents, such as brochures and pamphlets that you receive from health departments, non-government organisations, health promotion programs, local community organisations, and support and self-help groups
  • you can provide information in other languages and other formats for patients with low English proficiency (eg in plain English, pictures, videos)
  • you can provide culturally appropriate material (eg for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients).

Managing patient information to support preventive care

When you collect information about a patient’s health (eg the patient’s family medical history), record the information in the patient’s health summary and health record. Keeping a complete health summary that includes the patient’s main health issues means you can provide better care and pass on appropriate information when patients seek care from other health professionals.

If the patient’s complete family medical history is not readily available or the information is sensitive and the patient is reluctant to provide it, appropriate respect must be given.

Some information may also be transferred to national state-based registers (eg immunisation data, cervical screening and familial cancer registries) in order to improve care. If your practice participates in national registers, you need to:

  • obtain consent from each patient to have their health information sent to a register
  • inform patients that they can opt out of certain registers, but not others (eg HIV infection register)
  • remind patients when they need to have another screening (do not rely on patients receiving reminders from these registries).

Meeting each Indicator

C4.1 A Our patients receive appropriately tailored information about health promotion, illness prevention, and preventive care.

You must:

  • document in the patient’s health record discussions or activities relating to preventive health.

You could:

  • use preventive health guidelines and resources
  • hand out up-to-date pamphlets and brochures
  • provide information on the practice’s website
  • run preventive health activities, such as diabetic education groups and groups to help patients quit smoking
  • have a reminder system to prompt patients of screening activities.