Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health outcomes, life expectancy and access to health care should be equal to that experienced by other Australians. To address both the current inequalities and improve primary health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, we need a whole-of-system view that uses evidence, innovative thinking and Indigenousled, collaborative, strengths-based approaches.
The vision of the Centre for Research Excellence in Integrated Quality Improvement in Indigenous Primary Health Care (CRE-IQI) is to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes by accelerating and strengthening large-scale quality improvement efforts. Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is a systematic way of using data to guide ongoing improvements to the quality and consistency of primary health care (PHC) as well as to its organisation, structure and/or design. Recognising the need to scale-up CQI efforts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council funded the CRE-IQI from 2015 to 2019 (#1078927). The CRE-IQI brought together researchers, service providers and policy makers – from Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, government-managed health centres, research institutions, government health departments and key regional support organisations such as health councils – to work on ways to strengthen system-wide quality improvement.
Building on more than two decades of participatory CQI research and development involving Indigenous communities, health services and researchers across Australia, the CRE-IQI research aimed:
- To refine and build new audit processes and tools
- To improve data reporting systems at all levels of primary health care
- To increase the use of quality improvement data in clinical governance, management and practice
- To strengthen quality improvement capacity in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce
- To monitor and evaluate the impact of the innovation platform.