Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Accuracy of national key performance indicator reporting from two Aboriginal medical services: potential to underestimate the performance of primary health care

Isaac Hill A D , David Johnson A , David Scrimgeour B and Robyn McDermott C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Inc., 220 Franklin Street, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: David.johnson@ahcsa.org.au

B Spinifex Health Service, PMB 88, Kalgoorlie, WA 6430, Australia. Email: David.scrimgeour@spinifexhealth.org.au

C College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia. Email: Robyn.Mcdermott@jcu.edu.au

D Corresponding author. Email: Isaac.hill@ahcsa.org.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16251
Submitted: 7 November 2016  Accepted: 28 March 2017   Published online: 9 May 2017

Abstract

Objective The aim of the present study was to assess the accuracy of extracting national key performance indicator (nKPI) data for the Online Community Health Reporting Environment for Health Services (OCHREStreams) program using the Pen Computer Systems (Leichhardt, NSW, Australia) Clinical Audit Tool (CAT) from Communicare (Telstra Health Communicare Systems, Perth, WA, Australia), a commonly used patient information management system (PIMS) in Aboriginal primary care.

Methods Two Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) were recruited to the present study. A sample of regular clients aged ≥55 years from each ACCHS was selected and a subset of 13 nKPIs was examined. A manual case note audit of the nKPI subset within Communicare was undertaken by a clinician at each participating ACCHS and acted as a ‘gold standard’ comparator for three query methods: (1) internal Communicare nKPI reports; (2) PenCS CAT nKPI manual filtering (a third-party data-extraction tool); and (3) nKPI data submitted to the Improvement Foundation qiConnect portal.

Results No errors were found in nKPI data extraction from Communicare using the CAT and subsequent submission to the qiConnect portal. However, the Communicare internal nKPI report included deceased clients and past patients, and we can be very confident that deceased clients and past patients are also included in the qiConnect portal data. This resulted in inflation of client denominators and an underestimation of health service performance, particularly for nKPIs recording activity in the past 6 months. Several minor errors were also detected in Communicare internal nKPI reports.

Conclusions CAT accurately extracts a subset of nKPI data from Communicare. However, given the widespread use of Communicare in ACCHSs, the inclusion of deceased clients and past patients in the OCHREStreams nKPI data program is likely to have resulted in systematic under-reporting of health service performance nationally.

What is known about the topic? There has been limited validation of health data exported via data-extraction tools in Australia. More specifically, there are no current published data describing the accuracy of the CAT in mapping health data extracted from Communicare or the accuracy of internal nKPI reports generated by Communicare. Further, no systematic review has been undertaken to assess the accuracy of the nKPI data submission pathway from PIMSs at the health service level to the OCHREStreams qiConnect portal using the CAT.

What does this paper add? The CAT accurately extracts a subset of nKPI data from Communicare and accurately submits this to the qiConnect portal. Minor errors exist in some Communicare internal nKPI reports. The inclusion of deceased clients and past patients in the nKPI reporting system for ACCHSs is likely to have resulted in systematic under-reporting of health service performance nationally through this program.

What are the implications for practitioners? The inclusion of deceased clients and past patients in the OCHREStreams nKPI program limits the usefulness of these data for local quality improvement activities and national monitoring of health service performance for participating ACCHSs. The use of the CAT by ACCHSs independently from the OCHREStreams program can enable deceased clients and past patients to be excluded from reports that can provide more accurate nKPI data from Communicare for local quality improvement and planning purposes.


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