Article Title

Learning from the implementation of a quality improvement intervention in Australian general practice: A qualitative analysis of participants views of a CVD preventive care project

Abstract

Background: Quality improvement collaborative projects aim to reduce gaps in clinical care provided in the healthcare system. This study evaluated the experience of key participants from a Quality Improvement Program (QPulse) that focussed on cardiovascular disease assessment and management. The study goal was to identify critical barriers and factors enabling the implementation of a quality improvement framework in Australian general practice.

Methods: This qualitative study examined in-depth semi-structured interviews with nineteen purposively-selected participants of the QPulse project. Interviewees were from General Practices and the local supporting organisation, a Primary Health Network. Interviews were analysed thematically using the Complex Systems Improvement framework, focusing on five domains: strategy, culture, structure, workforce and technology.

Results: Despite reported engagement with QPulse objectives to improve cardiovascular preventive care, implementation barriers associated with this program were considerable for all interviewees. Adoption of the quality improvement process was reliant on designated leadership, aligned practice culture, organised systems for clear communication, tailored education and utilisation of clinical audit and review processes. Rather than practice size and location, practice culture and governance alignment to quality improvement predicted successful implementation. Financial incentives for both general practice and the Primary Health Network were also identified as prerequisites for systematised quality improvement projects in the future, along with individualised support and education for each general practice. Technology was both an enabler and a barrier, and the Primary Health Network was seen as key to assisting the successful utilisation of the available tools.

Conclusions: Implementation of Quality Improvement programs remains a potential tool for achieving better health outcomes in General Practice. However, enablers such as financial incentives, individualised education and support provided via a supporting organisation, and IT tools and support are crucial if the full potential of Quality Improvement programs are to be realised in the Australian healthcare setting.

Keywords

primary care, implementation, quality improvement, cardiovasular disease, preventive care, general practice, quality improvement collaboration, primary health network, PHN

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.1186/s12875-022-01692-0

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