Introduction: Auckland District Health Board was one of four District Health Boards to trial the Breakthrough Series (BTS) methodology to improve the management of long-term conditions in New Zealand, with support from the Ministry of Health.
Aim: To improve clinical outcomes, facilitate planned care and promote quality improvement within participating practices in Auckland.
Methods: Implementation of the Collaborative followed the improvement model / Institute for Healthcare Improvement methodology. Three topic areas were selected: system redesign, cardio-vascular disease/diabetes, and self-management support. An expert advisory group and the Improvement Foundation Australia helped guide project development and implementation. Primary Health Organisation facilitators were trained in the methodology and 15 practice teams participated in the three learning workshops and action periods over 12 months. An independent evaluation study using both quantitative and qualitative methods was conducted.
Results: Improvements were recorded in cardiovascular disease risk assessment, practice-level systems of care, self-management systems and follow-up and coordination for patients. Qualitative research found improvements in coordination and teamwork, knowledge of practice populations and understanding of managing long-term conditions.
Conclusion: The Collaborative process delivered some real improvements in the systems of care for people with long-term conditions and a change in culture among participating practices. The findings suggest that by strengthening facilitation processes, improving access to comprehensive population audit tools and lengthening the time frame, the process has the potential to make significant improvements in practice. Other organisations should consider this approach when investigating quality improvement programmes.