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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Spring 2019 eNews

In this issue

New program to develop sepsis guidelines

National response to improve sepsis outcomes

Coinciding with World Sepsis Day last month, Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP committed $1.5 million to an important new program to improve sepsis outcomes in Australia.

Sepsis remains the leading cause of acute physiological deterioration of patients within the hospital setting. The new program, led by the Commission in partnership with the George Institute for Global Health, will develop the clinical guidance needed to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of this national health priority.

The project builds on our recent work to improve systems in hospitals for recognising and responding to patients deteriorating from sepsis, and the work already undertaken by state and territory quality and safety organisations and the Australian Sepsis Network to reduce the impact of sepsis on Australian lives.

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Severe Perineal Tears (3rd/4th degree) - consultation open

Image of pregnant woman with the words Perineal Tears Clinical Care Standard consultation open

Of all women who gave birth vaginally in Australia in 2014, 3% had a third or fourth degree perineal tear. Severe perineal trauma, if not recognised and repaired at the time, can have serious long-term consequences for women.

The Commission is inviting comments from the public on the draft Severe (Third and Fourth Degree) Perineal Tears Clinical Care Standard.

Comments are sought from healthcare professionals, healthcare and consumer organisations, consumers and any other interested parties. Instructions for submitting comments are available on the Commission’s website

The consultation period will be open until 11:59pm Sunday, 8 December 2019.

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PROMs lists now available

Healthcare can be improved when patients share what is important to them and any issues that may impact their care and treatment. Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) provide a way to systematically measure health outcomes from the patient's perspective. PROMs can contribute to improving healthcare by:

  • Enhancing clinician-patient interactions
  • Comparing the effects of different treatments and for understanding variation among healthcare providers
  • Supporting population surveillance and informing policy.

To promote the use of PROMs in Australia, the Commission has developed web pages summarising information and evidence on PROMs. These pages feature a list of validated PROMs and case studies highlighting how PROMs are being used in Australia and overseas.

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User Guide for the Review of Clinical Variation in Health Care - consultation open

The Commission has produced a consultation draft of the User Guide for the Review of Clinical Variation in Health Care to support health service organisations implement a new action in the second edition NSQHS Standards.

The new Action (1.28) is part of the Governance Standard. Its intent is to ensure that health service organisations use data on clinical care processes and outcomes to identify unwarranted variation and to regularly review and improve the appropriateness of clinical care.

The user guide includes practical advice and case studies to show some of the different ways health service organisations can implement Action 1.28. Feedback on the consultation draft of the guide will be accepted until 31 October 2019.

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Comprehensive Care Standard – new resources

The suite of comprehensive care resources continues to grow!

Essential elements 4 and 6

New resources have been released to support implementation of the Comprehensive Care Standard, and the development of a comprehensive care plan.

A single comprehensive care plan should be prepared for a patient so that core information can be shared, accessed and acted on by all members of the multidisciplinary team. This document describes agreed goals of care, and outlines planned medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health activities for a patient.

Essential element 2

We have also just released an Easy English version of tips for identifying goals of care for patients and consumers.

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On the road with My Health Record in emergency departments

The My Health Record (MHR) in ED roadshow has canvassed Australia, educating emergency department clinicians and other healthcare professionals on the MHR system and how it can benefit their clinical practice and improve outcomes for patients.

The roadshow team has already visited 30 public and private hospitals, across most states and territories - from large tertiary referral facilities to small and large regional sites, including remote locations with less than 50 beds.

In total, they have conducted 110 awareness sessions, speaking to more than 1,100 clinicians and healthcare professionals.

Commission and ED staff at Perth Royal Hospital

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Digital Mental Health Standards are coming

The development of national safety and quality standards for digital mental health services is underway.

More than 200 stakeholders from across the mental health sector took part in our recent consultation process on building user confidence, increasing adoption rates, and enhancing consumer and carer empowerment and choice in digital mental health services.

Every state and territory was represented and we received feedback from mental health consumers and carers, clinicians, service providers, peak bodies, PHNs, academics and government agencies.

The development of national standards is a significant step in providing safety and quality assurance for digital mental health service users. We will continue to consult with clinical and technical experts during the next phase of the project - focusing on the design and development of the national standards and associated resources.

Public consultation on the draft standards is planned for March and April 2020.

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Patients take centre stage in updated Charter of Healthcare Rights

More than 400 healthcare professionals tuned into the live-streamed launch of the second edition of the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights on 8 August 2019.

The much-anticipated updated Charter was welcomed by consumers and healthcare professionals across the country. Reflecting an increased focus on person-centred care, the revised Charter encourages people receiving health care to be actively involved in decision-making with their healthcare provider.

During the webcast, an expert panel reflected on the important role of the Charter in the lives of patients, their carers and clinicians. Commission Chair Professor Villis Marshall AC was joined by speakers including Commission Clinical Director Associate Professor Amanda Walker, SA Complaints Commissioner Dr Grant Davies, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland Melissa Fox, and Executive Director, Nursing Services at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Adjunct Associate Professor Veronica Casey.

If you missed the live launch, you can watch the on-demand stream. A range of resources are also available to help consumers understand their healthcare rights, with more due for release in early 2020.

Panel of speakers for launch of second edition Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

Our expert panel of speakers at the launch of the second edition Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.

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Quick Bites - PVA CSS, AHPEQS and more

Strong response to PVA Clinical Care Standard consultation

We received an overwhelming response to our public consultation for the Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard. More than 140 individuals and organisations provided a response and the Commission is now reviewing these comments. Our analysis will inform the development of the clinical care standard, which is on-track for release by mid-2020.

AHPEQS now available in 20 languages

The Australian Hospital Patient Experience Question Set (AHPEQS) helps hospitals and healthcare services to learn from their patient’s experiences and use this feedback to help improve patient care. It is now available in 20 languages helping to improve patient experience for all Australians. 

Stay up-to-date with the Commission

To get daily updates on the Commission’s work and latest releases - follow us on Twitter @ACSQHC or LinkedIn. We have doubled our social media followers over the past 12 months, and look forward to seeing you there!

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Working at the Commission

Want to work in a vibrant culture with people dedicated to protecting the public from harm and improving the quality of health service provision?

Visit the Commission's career page to find roles we are currently advertising.

Meet Chris Boyd-Skinner...

Chris Boyd-Skinner, Senior Project Officer

What did you do before the Commission?

I am a Registered Nurse and still work clinically. My experience is mostly across intensive care and aeromedical retrievals. I have also spent time working in research with the University of New South Wales and in the private sector with Sonic Healthcare managing a community nursing team.

What do you do now?

My current role is Senior Project Officer in the Digital Patient Safety team. A good portion of our work is focused on the My Health Record system and I work closely with the Australian Digital Health Agency on a number of different projects.

At present, I am halfway through a national My Health Record in Emergency Departments (ED) Roadshow. The Roadshow has travelled to public and private hospitals across the country (including tertiary, regional and remote facilities), speaking with clinicians about how the My Health Record can be best utilised in the ED context.

What do you love about your work?

Digital health is an exciting space to be working in and we are now at a critical juncture in Australia with regard to an influx of new and emerging technologies. It’s great working closely with clinicians to examine how this technology will inevitably shape and impact their practice; in addition to understanding what effect this may have on patient outcomes. The Commission’s role is instrumental in ensuring that digital health in Australia is delivered in a safe way so it’s wonderful to be part of this story.
What’s something that someone outside the Commission may not know about us?

There is a highly positive work culture within the Commission which makes being employed here a real privilege. The organisation is also full of some very talented minds and my colleagues are an inspirational bunch!

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