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Posted on 12 Nov 2019

Last month we were delighted to hold our first clinical quality registries forum with the Australian Government Department of Health and Monash University, titled ‘Maximising Australian CQRs’ potential to improve safety and quality’.

Clinical quality registries (CQRs) monitor the quality (appropriateness and effectiveness) of health care within specific clinical domains and settings, by routinely collecting, analysing and reporting health-related information. The information is used to identify benchmarks and significant variance in outcomes, which can inform improvements in healthcare provision. 

The forum brought together over 180 delegates from across the country, including health service executives, clinicians and other staff, researchers, government colleagues and representatives from private health insurers.

The keynote speaker was Eric Hans Eddes, Director of the Dutch Institute for Clinical Auditing (DICA). Use of clinical registries is well-embedded in the Netherlands and so Eric shared some experiences about how they got there.

Male presenter standing on stage looking out to packed audience

He presented examples of where variation has been significantly reduced with registry involvement. Eric reinforced that registries being led by medical professionals is critical as this provides a trusted and safe environment for outliers to be identified and to improve.

While not always easy to find or understand, a lot of registry data is published publicly in the Netherlands. Eric explained that building clinicians comfort for public reporting of outcomes data can be a 4–5 year process. But, by the end of the process, the professional colleges all agreed to it and trusted the data.

On the key success factors for driving clinical registries, Eric spoke about having a bottom-up approach, national alignment, working with trusted data partners, and being prepared to start by doing what you can and then allow the registry to mature over time.

He concluded by explaining that clinical registries are an essential part of the broader health system. ‘Affordable, accessible, quality healthcare requires us to work together – we can’t do it alone’, he said.

Another international speaker, Carl Shuker from the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand, gave an engaging video address where he talked through New Zealand’s journey to public reporting of health data.

A series of short presentations gave different perspectives on working with registries. This included Associate Professor Philip McCahy speaking about the Australian and New Zealand Audit of Surgical Mortality, Catherine Katz talking about the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s priorities for registries, and Dr Susan Sdrinis from the Alfred Hospital on how they are using clinical registry data to show their executives where action is needed.

The day culminated with a panel discussion on the next steps for Australian registries. The importance of public reporting was a key theme of the discussion, with Eric Hans Eddes suggesting that public reporting should be a precondition of government funding. The panel agreed that the primary purpose of clinical registries should be to drive improvement and that everything else, including public reporting, should flow on from that.

The discussion also identified that there is more work to do to involve the private sector in clinical quality registries, as the public/private mix is an important factor in the Australian context. 

Woman speaking as part of a panel discussion at conference

Feedback from delegates on the day was very positive, with many telling us that they had found the forum enjoyable and informative, and had appreciated the opportunity to get together with colleagues from across the sector.

There was great engagement from the audience in all the sessions as well as some fantastic conversations during the breaks. The passion of everyone at the event was clear and it left us feeling energised and excited about the future of clinical quality registries in Victoria.

If you have any queries about the forum, please contact Paulette Kelly, Manager, Clinical Registries, Network Support & Analytics, via paulette.kelly@vahi.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 13 Nov 2019