It goes without saying that primary care services delivered in Western Queensland already strive to uphold Health Care Home principles and are providing high quality care for their communities. It is also true that every practice can improve its capacity to offer the highest levels of care and is a constant work in progress.
‘We recognise that each WQ HCH practices are unique and that undertaking a quality improvement program can lead to unexplored places’, said WQPHN CEO Mr Stuart Gordon.
The newly developed WQ HCH Maturity Matrix too helps practices to assess their baseline and progress and chart a course,carefully checking each step to ensure they remain on target. Developed in collaboration between WQPHN, Healthy Futures Australia and the University of Queensland – Mater Research Institute, the tool has already provided benchmarking for practices to work out where their strengths are and where they need to invest time to make improvements. Used as a self-assessment tool, the four-level scale assesses the stages of development toward a well-established and experienced HCH.
Practice principal and GP from of Maranoa Medical in Roma Dr Rosie Geraghty said, ‘the WQ HCH Maturity Matrix provided a really good starting point to understand our HCH readiness as well as explanations for each of the four levels which provided a good indicator of the progress we need to make in order to move towards being an aspirational HCH.’
Leading academic and GP herself Professor Claire Jackson from the University of Queensland who is working with the team to refine the tool said, ‘the Maturity Matrix is unique to Australia as it not only uses language that resonates with clinicians and GPs in our country, but also helps practices track progress towards practice change and improvement at regular intervals,enabling the team to re-imagine care delivery and how they interact with patients’.
WQPHN, Healthy Futures and the team at UQ have spent the past 12 months refining the WQ HCH Maturity Matrix tool which has been modified for the Australian rural and remote context. The tool was developed based on international assessment tools including the Patient-Centred Medical Home Assessment (PCMH-A) tool from the US (adapted by WentWest and currently being used in the national trials in Australia), the New Zealand Pinnacle Health HCH Model of Care requirements, the Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) HCH readiness assessment and the Primary Care Practice Improvement Tool (PC-PIT) developed by the University of Queensland.
As the tool is still in the testing and development stage, ongoing feedback and refinement is being made with input from the WQ HCH Working Group members as well as GPs who have completed the tool as part of the Early Adopter Program. ‘Initial feedback is certainly positive, particularly as it provides clear approaches towards building capacity for growth and improvement. Never before has this been more important,as we move towards more patient-centred models that support greater connectivity and team-based care’, said CEO of WQPHN Stuart Gordon.