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Healthy Communities: GP care for patients with chronic conditions in 2009–2013 - Technical Supplement - Introduction

Healthy Communities: GP care for patients with chronic conditions in 2009–2013

Introduction

Information in the report Healthy Communities: GP care for patients with chronic conditions in 2009–2013 is intended to measure the effectiveness of health care services delivered in primary health care settings. This report provides information relating to the following indicators:

  • Access to services by type of service compared to need
  • GP-type service use.

The report also provides contextual information relevant to the following indicators:

  • Specialist service utilisation
  • Allied-health type service use
  • Percentage of the population receiving primary mental health care.

This is the first report from the National Health Performance Authority (the Authority) that presents information on primary health care at the local level regarding how often and in what way GPs manage their patients’ chronic conditions.

The report’s findings can be considered in the context of four broad themes:

  1. How frequently selected chronic conditions are found among people who visit a GP in a year
  2. How often GPs see patients with one chronic condition or two or more chronic conditions (multimorbidity)
  3. How often GPs actively manage patients for that chronic condition. In other words, how often a GP took steps to mitigate or monitor that condition, as opposed to another unrelated ailment
  4. What actions GPs took to manage that condition (such as prescribing a medication or providing a referral or counselling).

The findings in the report focuses on patients with some of the most common chronic conditions managed in general practice, including selected cardiovascular risk conditions, depression, anxiety, arthritis and chronic back pain.

Data for the report were sourced from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program. The BEACH program is a continuous, national, cross-sectional survey of general practice activity in Australia conducted by the Family Medicine Research Centre (FMRC), the University of Sydney.1

The report, Healthy Communities: GP care for patients with chronic conditions in 2009–2013, and information included in the report, is provided online at www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au

Measures presented

The list of measures included in the report, and links to the definition for each measure on METeOR can be found in Table 1. The methods used to calculate each of these measures are described in this Technical Supplement.

Table 1: Measures included in the report

Geography reported at Weighting Link to definition on METeOR
Selected chronic conditions and multimorbidity
Percentage of people who visit the GP at least once in a year who had one, two, or three or more chronic conditions Medicare Local peer group Weighted to MBS* attending population http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/586349External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/586349]
Percentage of GP consultations with patients who had one, two, or three or more chronic conditions Medicare Local peer group Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/586342External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/586342]
Percentage of GP consultations in which one, two, or three or more chronic conditions were managed Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/586345External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/586345]
Selected cardiovascular risk conditions
Percentage of people who visit the GP at least once in a year who had a selected cardiovascular risk condition Medicare Local peer group Weighted to MBS* attending population http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593780External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593780]
Percentage of GP consultations with patients who had a selected cardiovascular risk condition Medicare Local peer group Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593783External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593783]
Percentage of GP consultations in which a selected cardiovascular risk condition was managed Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593785External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593785]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which statins were prescribed in the management of a selected cardiovascular risk condition Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593789External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593789]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which a referral to another health professional was provided in the management of a selected cardiovascular risk condition Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593787External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593787]
Depression and anxiety
Percentage of people who visit the GP at least once in a year who had depression, anxiety or both of these conditions Medicare Local peer group Weighted to MBS* attending population http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593768External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593768]
Percentage of GP consultations with patients who had depression, anxiety or both of these conditions Medicare Local peer group Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/588162External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/588162]
Percentage of GP consultations in which depression or anxiety were managed Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593770External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593770]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which psychotropics were prescribed in the management of depression or anxiety Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593772External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593772]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which counselling was provided in the management of depression or anxiety Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593774External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593774]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which a referral to another health professional was provided in the management of depression or anxiety Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/594756External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/594756]
Arthritis and chronic back pain
Percentage of people who visit the GP at least once in a year who had arthritis, chronic back pain or both of these conditions Medicare Local peer group Weighted to MBS* attending population http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593791External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593791]
Percentage of GP consultations with patients who had arthritis, chronic back pain or both of these conditions Medicare Local peer group Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593793External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593793]
Percentage of GP consultations in which arthritis or chronic back pain was managed Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593796External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593796]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which a medication was prescribed in the management of arthritis or chronic back pain Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593798External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593798]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which a referral to another health professional was provided in the management of arthritis or chronic back pain Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/595024External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/595024]
Percentage of GP management occasions in which imaging was ordered in the management of arthritis or chronic back pain Medicare Local catchment Unweighted http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/ content/index.phtml/itemId/593803External link, opens in a new window.[http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/593803]

* The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) contains details of the services that attract Medicare rebates under the Health Insurance Act 1973.

The attending population are persons who received Medicare benefits for GP attendance items listed in the MBS.

Geography

The report presents nationally consistent information for measures at the Medicare Local catchment level and for seven clusters of Medicare Local catchments called peer groups. This enables fairer comparisons of individual Medicare Local catchments and also provides a summary of the variation across Australia’s diverse metropolitan, regional and rural populations by presenting aggregate results for each peer group.

The Authority identified seven peer groups on the basis of:

  • Proximity of each Medicare Local to major metropolitan areas (using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Standard Geographic Classification, 2006 Remoteness Structure)
  • Proximity to major hospitals (A1 public hospitals in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Public Hospital Peer Group classification, 2010–11)
  • Socioeconomic status.

More information on Medicare Local peer groups can be found in Healthy Communities: Australians’ experiences with primary health care in 2010–11, Technical Supplement

Suppression of estimates

To report BEACH data at the local level, The Authority decided and FMRC applied methods and suppression rules to ensure the reliability, representativeness and confidentiality of the data. The suppression rules for the measures presented in Healthy Communities: GP care for patients with chronic conditions in 2009–2013 are described in this Technical Supplement.

1. Britt H, Miller GC, et al. General practice activity in Australia 2012–13. General practice series no. 33. Sydney: Sydney University Press; 2013.