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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Autumn 2019 eNews

In this issue

ED Clinician’s Guide to My Health Record

The Commission is working in partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency on a project to support emergency department (ED) clinician use of My Health Record.

A key component of this project is development of an ED clinician’s Guide to My Health Record, being developed in partnership with the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), the Agency and a number of peak health bodies and colleges.

To complement the Guide, the Commission is developing a toolkit of supplementary educational resources in recognition of the different educational preferences of ED clinical disciplines.

More than 90% of Australians have had a My Health Record created for them since the opt-out period ended in January 2019, so that many patients presenting to EDs now have a record for clinicians to access. The ED Clinician’s Guide will support staff caring for these patients by highlighting how the My Health Record system can inform clinical decision making and integrate with ED clinical workflows.

The Guide is due for publication in mid-May 2019. Read our fact sheet for more information [add link].

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New Atlas shines light on wide variations in health care

The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation was officially launched by the Minister for Health, The Hon. Greg Hunt, in mid-December 2018.

Findings from the Third Atlas have important implications for a number of widespread health treatments and investigations across four clinical areas: paediatric and neonatal health; gastrointestinal investigations and treatments; thyroid investigations and treatments; and cardiac tests.

Of concern, the Atlas identified potential adverse outcomes for the youngest members of the community, highlighting high rates of planned caesarean sections before 39 weeks, and the overuse of antibiotics among Australian children.

Among older Australians, the inappropriate use of antipsychotics continues to be a problem with a repeat analysis of the prescribing of antipsychotic medicines to Australians aged 65 and over indicating little improvement since 2015.

These are just some of the findings from the Third Atlas. To find out more visit: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/atlas2018

Photo of Hospital and Healthcare magazine opened to the Atlas article

Professor Anne Duggan's insightful article on the topic is the quickest and most enjoyable way to understand the importance of the Atlas series.

Photo of the cover of the Third Atlas

Key findings and recommendations for all five topic areas explored in the Third Atlas are available on our website.

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Building a framework for digital mental health services

For many people, interventions through digital mental health services can be as effective as face-to-face services, and provide better access and anonymity.

The Commission is scoping a certification framework and national standards for digital mental health services. This includes mental health, suicide prevention, or alcohol and other drugs services that use technology to engage and deliver care.

Certifying digital mental health services may build user confidence, lift adoption rates and increase consumer choice. The certification framework will support digital mental health services including those listed on the Australian Government’s digital mental health gateway Head to Health.

In March and April we are seeking input from consumers, carers, health professionals, service providers and other stakeholders through face-to-face workshops, online sessions and an online written survey. The Commission will report to the Australian Government Department of Health in mid-2019.

Learn more at: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/dmhs

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Report cover image with words: National Clinical Trials Governance Framework

A governance framework will position Australia as a preferred destination for clinical trials and give Australian patients increased access to potentially life-saving treatments.

Consultations underway to boost the clinical trials sector

Consultations are taking place nationally to help develop the National Clinical Trials Governance Framework. The framework will support the integration of clinical trials service provision into routine hospital care and reinforce Australia’s standing as one of the world’s leaders in medical research.

Consultations began on 6 February, and will continue across Australia until 22 March 2019. Find out more about this important initiative on the Commission's website.

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Draft NSQHS Standards User Guide for Medication Management in Cancer Care

Medicines used to treat cancer are high-risk, and unsurprisingly, treatment protocols can be daunting for newly diagnosed patients, junior clinicians and those unfamiliar with cancer care. New evidence-based research is always emerging and translating it into clinical practice needs effective clinical governance.

Last year, the Commission organised 20 cancer care consultative workshops across Australia, and had an overwhelming 400 people register to have their voices heard. Participants included medical oncologists, haematologists, nurses, pharmacists, allied health care, cancer patients and carers. We learnt that safety and quality in medicines management for cancer care is important to everyone involved.

Based on input from participants, the findings from reviews of cancer medicine-related incidents, current evidence of best practice and consultations with cancer experts, the Commission is developing a User Guide for Medication Management in Cancer Care.

The draft user guide will be available for public consultation in early April 2019 and we invite your input and comment. More information will be available on the Commission’s website soon.

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End-of-Life Essentials

Flinders University has free eLearning modules based on the Commission’s National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care.

These excellent resources are designed to assist acute care clinicians in meeting the challenges of providing end-of-life care, with a focus on developing clinical knowledge and skills in communication and decision-making. Find out more at: https://www.endoflifeessentials.com.au/

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Photo of a clinician with patient

If you are a doctor, nurse or allied health professional working in this area or have an interest in end-of-life care, these eLearning modules are for you.

Eye on the draft Cataract Clinical Care Standard

Cataract is the most common elective surgery diagnosis in Australia. The Commission is currently calling for feedback on the draft Cataract Clinical Care Standard and indicators, to be released later in 2019.

The clinical care standard describes the care a patient should be offered if they have cataract and are considering surgery. It is based on findings from the first two editions of the Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation.

Read the draft standard and 8 quality statements and submit your feedback by 5 April at: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/ccs-consultations

Image of eye with text: Cataract Clinical Care Standard Consultation Draft

Read the draft Cataract Clinical Care Standard, review the 8 quality statements and, most importantly, have your say.

Image of red blood cells clotted together

Blood clots or Venous Thrombembolism (VTE) Prevention was the topic of our most recent clinical care standard.

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Review of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (the Charter) describes the rights you, your family or someone you care for has when they access health care. These rights apply to all people in all healthcare settings in Australia.

The Commission is reviewing the Charter and over the past 12 months has sought feedback on how user friendly and easy to understand it is, and on how it could be improved. We would like to thank all who provided feedback during this consultation.

More than 1,400 submissions were received in response to two online surveys, and around 100 consumers and health service staff participated in workshops across the country. The feedback provided will inform the second edition of the Charter, expected to be released in Winter 2019.

As part of this project we will produce a suite of resources to support the implementation of the Charter, including posters, consumer resources, clinician factsheets and translated versions. Read more at: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/national-priorities/charter-of-healthcare-rights/review-of-the-charter-of-healthcare-rights-second-edition/

Image of many people standing together with the words: Do you know your healthcare rights

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Have you done NSQHS Standards Assessor Training?

Are you interested in learning more about the NSQHS Standards (second edition), implemented from 1 January 2019, including:

  • What has changed from the first edition?
  • How health service organisations might implement the standards?
  • What assessors are looking for when surveying a service?

If so, our free online NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) Orientation Course is a great starting point.

This course includes detailed information on each of the eight standards, including five new areas of interest: health literacy, care for people with mental health, care for people with cognitive impairment, care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and end-of-life care.

The online course includes videos, scenarios and knowledge check questions to enhance your learning. There are also links to resources to support understanding about the standards and best-practice care in the health system.

Certificates are available for completion of individual modules or the full course; a non-certificate option is also available. For more information about the course, key dates and to enrol, go to https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/our-work/assessment-to-the-nsqhs-standards/nsqhs-standards-second-edition/assessor-orientation-course-enrolment-form/

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Quick Bites - catheters, aged care and mental health

Consultation for clinical care standard for catheters
Consultation is underway to develop a clinical care standard for peripheral intravenous catheters. The Commission is seeking input from clinicians, consumers and relevant professional bodies to support the development of a Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard, due late 2019.

Commissions speaks at Aged Care Senate Inquiry
The Commission's CEO Adjunct Professor Debora Picone, Chief Medical Officer Dr Robert Herkes and Clinical Director Dr Amanda Walker were invited to speak at the Senate Inquiry last month on the effectiveness of the quality assessment and accreditation framework in protecting residents of aged-care facilities. 

Debora Picone - AO
Congratulations to all recipients in the Australia Day 2019 Honours List including our CEO Debora Picone AM, who was recognised with an AO for distinguished service to the community through the coordination of improvements to the safety & quality of health care.

User Guide and Map for mental health
Providing optimal mental health care is core business for health services. Our new User Guide offers practical examples of how health organisations meet these needs and implement actions in the National Safety and Quality health Service (NSQHS) Standards (second edition). We have also mapped the NSQHS Standards (2nd ed.) to the National Standards for Mental Health Services to highlight alignment between the two sets of standards. Download a copy now of the Map and User Guide.

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Working at the Commission

Meet Anne Cumming...

What did you do before working at the Commission?

I worked in policy related to ageing, disability and health in the NSW departments. My previous position was with the NSW Health Dementia Policy Team, where I enjoyed a great learning environment co-located with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. Prior to policy work, my clinical background was social work.

What do you do now?

I am the principal advisor, cognitive impairment. My focus has been on raising awareness and action to improve the identification and care of people with cognitive impairment in hospital. I have provided guidance to clinicians and health service managers.

What do you love about your work?

I love knowing that I have played a role to prevent delirium and improve outcomes for people with cognitive impairment in hospitals. Cognitive impairment is now recognised as an important safety and quality issue and there are specific actions in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. The NSQHS Standards are a powerful tool for change.  I enjoy working with consumers, committed clinical experts and managers through consultation and our advisory groups. I enjoy keeping up-to-date with evidence and developing evidence-based guidance to support implementation.

What’s something that someone outside the Commission may not know about us?

I work with a fantastic bunch of colleagues. Also, the Commission encourages professional development and is very supportive if you choose to undertake further study relevant to your work.

Portrait of Anne Cumming

Anne Cumming, Principal Advisor, Cognitive Impairment

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t: 02 9126 3000
e: mail@safetyandquality.gov.au