Digital transformation driving continuous improvement

By Mark Cockayne, Executive General Manager Commissioned Services

Digital transformation in health care has been accelerating over the past few years and has the potential to improve efficiency, optimise systems and processes, reduce costs, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

There are many ways we are working both within WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) and with our commissioned service providers (Providers) to achieve continuous quality improvement through technology-driven innovation.

Digital transformation is not achievable without the support of the workforce and openness for gradual learning and improvement. It is not as simple as technological change, but adaptive change in our attitudes and skills also. We are committed to supporting our staff and Providers with the tools and skills to help drive digital transformation in the work we do.

As the operator of WA’s three Primary Health Networks, WAPHA is undergoing its own digital transformation journey with the launch of an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) and new stakeholder relationship management system (SRM) over the past year.

As our organisation has grown, so has our need for more integrated and intuitive processes. Our new ERP has combined our key business support services such as human resources, finance, contracts, and procurement, in one centralised location to revolutionise the way support services are delivered across WAPHA, improve business outcomes and support continuous improvement.

Our SRM is a key strategic asset and critical to ensuring we can communicate and engage effectively with our stakeholders and will support streamlined engagement with our Providers also.

Service providers are an essential part of the local health system and deliver a range of treatment and screening services. Underpinning our work and that of our Providers, the recently developed Performance Management Framework (PMF) and Commissioned Services Reporting Portal (Reporting Portal) are tools to support them to deliver safe, high-quality, and reliable care whilst also giving us better oversight of data, provider performance and patient outcomes.

The PMF sets out a new approach to measuring, monitoring, and evaluating Provider performance, in a way that establishes clear, consistent, and transparent expectations of service delivery and outcomes. The Reporting Portal supports the implementation of the PMF by streamlining data sharing and providing reports that we and our Providers can use to work together to enhance patient experience and continually improve primary care.

Data is integral to high quality health care provision and helps us to better understand the services that are being provided, ensuring they are targeted to the right people in the community. Both these tools have been developed to ensure we are using data to drive continuous improvement.

We are aware that introducing the PMF means new performance indicators and changes to the type and way we collect data for some of our Providers and are committed to supporting them on this journey.   We have been working with different sectors to understand the impact these changes may have and work collaboratively to ensure everyone is prepared.

Last year we piloted the first stage of the Reporting Portal with a small group of chronic conditions Providers and are using valuable learnings from the pilot to improve the Reporting Portal user interface and update the system to align with our PMF.

Continuous quality improvement is critical to strengthening the health care system. We’re committed to improving health outcomes of the communities we serve across Western Australia and working closely with our staff and Providers to ensure they feel supported and empowered on this journey.