A journey of continuous improvement

By Mark Cockayne – General Manager Commissioned Services

Continuous improvement is a journey that requires commitment, reflection, and accountability. As the operator of WA’s three Primary Health Networks, we recognise we have a role in facilitating and directly contributing to continuous improvement within the sector in partnership with our commissioned providers.

Our commissioned service providers are an essential part of the local health system and deliver a range of treatment and screening services. Our relationship with them is much more than just a contractual relationship. Each of these organisations wants to provide the best service with good outcomes for the people they see, and we have a role to play in supporting that objective in a positive way.

Our recently developed Performance Management Framework (Framework) and Commissioned Services Reporting Portal (Portal) are tools to support our service providers to deliver safe, high-quality, and reliable care whilst also providing us with better oversight of data, provider performance and patient outcomes.

These new tools will also support us in our commitment to building a strong and sustainable primary health care system; and deliver on our strategic priority of bringing a more structured and data driven approach to the management of performance and quality improvement.

The Framework provides an overview of how we will set performance expectations, and measure, monitor and manage performance. It also establishes mutual expectations and accountability of us as an organisation in partnership with our service providers. These performance management mechanisms are put in place to help improve and strengthen service provider performance and set them up for success.

The Portal enables our service providers to upload data and gives us the ability to review and analyse this data for greater visibility of how our service providers are performing. We know that data is knowledge. It plays an important role in evaluating and guiding improvement and is an essential part of service delivery. We’re supporting providers to engage with their own data in an analysed format within the Portal and use this to drive change and improvement – both internally and via communities of practice.

The focus for us is on building capacity and capability among our service providers, working collaboratively with them, providing opportunities for them to connect with each other, and discussing new approaches and best practice, sharing learnings (including variation across services), knowledge and experience, and problem solving.

Consumers have a role to play in performance management and driving continuous improvement. We have engaged with consumer reference groups, committees, and councils, in the development of the Framework to ensure the voice of the consumer is heard and reflected in our performance management approaches, practices and activities.

This is just the beginning of our journey, we will progressively roll out implementation of the Framework across all our program areas including mental health, chronic conditions, and alcohol and other drugs (with further stakeholder engagement regarding Aboriginal health and aged care) over the next 12-24 months along with access to the Portal. This will be done in consultation with our commissioned service providers.

The Commissioned Services Reporting Portal has been codesigned and produced with a leading Microsoft vendor in Perth in alignment with the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework. Adherence to this Framework ensures excellence in the pillar areas of reliability, security, cost optimisation, operational excellence and performance efficiency. The further utilisation of Microsoft Azure Cloud Services with local storage ensures the data is securely governed on Australian soil in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles – the cornerstone of the Australian Privacy Act.