Unified system simplifies QI reporting, research shows

Currently, providers use a variety of software platforms which results in inconsistencies.

Adopting an integrated assessment system would significantly reduce the burden of compiling and evaluating quality indicator data, research has found.

Under the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program, providers are required to report on 11 critical categories of care that can affect the health and wellbeing of residents:

  • pressure injuries
  • physical restraints
  • weight loss
  • falls
  • medication management
  • activities of daily living
  • incontinence care
  • hospitalisation
  • workforce
  • consumer experience
  • quality of life.

Providers must report on the 11 quality indicators for each resident every three months.

Currently in Australia, providers use a variety of tools and software platforms to crunch the quality indicator data. Using different software platforms results in inconsistencies. These inconsistencies have been found to complicate the QI reporting process as providers must extract and evaluate data from multiple sources. This duplicates the clinical data in different formats.

However, researchers from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Health Research found that if Australia were to adopt the InterRAI Long Term Care Facility Assessment System – currently used in more than 30 countries – efforts to mine the QI data would be greatly reduced.

Professor Len Gray

“InterRAI assessments enable providers across the care paradigm to collect once and use many times,” Len Gray – professor in geriatric medicine at the UQ CHSR – told Australian Ageing Agenda.

InterRAI is a global organisation established to improving health outcomes through standardised assessment systems.

“Australia’s mandatory quality indicators for residential aged care can efficiently be calculated from the InterRAI LTCF, if a few minor adjustments are made to either the Australian mandatory QI item or the equivalent InterRAI item,” the UQ CHSR report – Deriving Australian Mandatory Quality Indicators from the InterRAI Long Term Care Facility Assessment System – found.

QI data scoped through the InterRai LTCF assessment system enables it to be “secured and scored without burden of additional data collection upon aged care providers.”

Apart from the workforce QI – which reports on staff composition and turnover – and the consumer experience and quality of life surveys, there are 71 discrete data items that need to be collected at the care recipient level to score the remaining QIs. These can be divided into 37 clinical care items, while the remaining 34 are procedural or administrative in nature.

The UQ CHSR researchers found that it is possible to closely approximate the nine clinical care QIs – pressure injuries, physical restraint, unplanned weight loss, falls and major injury, medication management, activities of daily living, incontinence care, and hospitalisation – using 26 InterRAI LTCF items (22 clinical care and four administrative items).

Of the 26 InterRAI items, researchers found 14 were a perfect match while 11 were equivalent. Three items had no equivalent in the InterRAI LTCF.

In addition to calculating the QIs, the InterRAI LTCF supports clinical assessment, care planning and resource allocation.

“InterRAI systems can be used to generate a wealth of information about quality of care, including most of the mandatory quality indicators, while at the same time providing a world standard comprehensive assessment system,” Professor Gray told AAA. “They truly solve the collect once use many times problem that bedevils aged care in Australia.”

In this interview with AAA filmed at the ITAC Conference in March, Professor Gray explains compilation and integrated assessment systems and why Australia should adopt the InterRai model across the whole aged care program:

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Tags: assessment tool, integrated assessment systems, interrai, len gray, quality indicators,

1 thought on “Unified system simplifies QI reporting, research shows

  1. It is indeed crucial to streamline these processes for aged care providers. However, it’s important to note that more than half of all aged care homes in Australia are already using standardised tools developed specifically for the National Quality Indicator Programme. MOA Benchmarking tools have been purpose-designed to meet the exact requirements of the programme, ensuring accuracy and consistency in data collection and reporting. Additionally, these tools include comprehensive data quality and validation systems specifically tuned for the NACMQIP indicators.
    As the research outlined indicates, the InterRAI items often do not match what is needed exactly or are not available at all. While the concept of a unified system like InterRAI is appealing, the practical application in Australia’s context requires careful consideration to ensure it meets the unique needs of our mandatory quality indicators.
    By continuing to develop and refine tools that are specifically tailored to our national requirements, we can maintain the high standards of care and compliance that are already being achieved by members using MOA’s standardised tools.

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