Let’s not fool ourselves about the PIP QI

It looks like patient care and quality improvement have taken a backseat in the new Practice Incentive Program (PIP QI).

To be eligible to receive payments under the revamped quality improvement program, practice owners need to show Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that they are recording information such as smoking status or influenza immunisations, and hand over de-identified patient data to their local PHN.

It is important that practices record this kind of information but the requirements are set at a rookie-level – a bit like learning how to write, no, how to hold a pencil.

Not surprisingly, the new program is regarded by many practice owners and managers as ‘easy money’. I don’t blame them as the Medicare freeze has affected us all – but the Federal Department of Health is fully aware it is dangling a carrot in front of a profession in dire need of adequate funding.

It is unlikely that in its current form, PIP QI will improve the quality of patient care. The profession rightly has second thoughts: Is this the beginning of performance management? Is this part of the department’s general practice data extraction plan?

What’s next? As there is no transparent, long-term vision here, your guess is as good as mine. The department is playing its cards close to its chest and appears to be effectively applying salami-slice tactics.

Professional organisations should have been given more responsibility to execute an agreed quality improvement strategy, acceptable to all stakeholders, including custodianship of patient information and access to raw data.

This was however clearly not on the department’s agenda and professional bodies were not successful in reaching agreement on a profession-led solution (general practice needs a shared vision). As a result, the focus appears to have been on data extraction.

After having been postponed twice, the practice incentive program has now been launched, even though several best-practice data governance principles have not yet been met.

For example, practices have been given little insight into what patient data is exactly being extracted from their databases and what happens with it afterward.

Red flags about the scheme have been raised at grassroots level. When going live last week, there were, and still are, many unanswered questions.

The practice incentive program should be about improving patient care in an acceptable, sensible and meaningful way. I’m concerned the scheme will instead be remembered as a government data grab.

5 thoughts on “Let’s not fool ourselves about the PIP QI

  • Totally agree. Let the patients know that for this reason, you may have to stop bulk billing. There needs to be a national waiting room wall poster campaign. Does anybody know a gree graphics designer who can send a PDF around?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reblogged this on Dr Thinus' musings and commented:

    Very true – and then there are very serious concerns regarding how much data is being extracted from the GP records in the background and how secure that data is once it leaves our Clinics.
    Reality is that GP Clinics are struggling financially and they are desperate so > 50% have signed up

    Liked by 1 person

  • It appears that patient data can be thrown around at the department’s discretion.

    Patients need to be made aware that the department is using extortion in the form of patient data in an attempt to prop up our ailing healthcare system.

    As a patient and health informatician, I have a great deal of interest in how my data is being managed and used without my consent. The department needs to issue a statement on how the PHN comply with the Privacy Principles, how they are the best custodians of patient data and what the intended purpose of collection is. Until then, informed consent cannot be provided. Does a patient have the capacity to withhold their data?

    If a deal looks too good to be true, there is always a catch.

    David, I can supply artistic ability if someone has the database…..


  • At PartridgeGP, everything we do has to go through a filter:

    is this better for patients and our community?
    is this better for our team?
    is this better for our practice and our business?

    We have not signed up at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  • When does the health department understand that collecting those KPIs is not useful. As a profession we know that “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”. Are we wanting to chase NHS models with its scandals and disasters and demoralised healthcare? I don’t have to sign up fortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

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