Implementing computerised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks in primary care for clinical care and research: a process evaluation
1 Discipline of General Practice, The University of Queensland, Level 8, Health Sciences Building, Building 16/ 910, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Qld 4029 Brisbane, Australia
2 Inala Indigenous Health Service, Queensland Health, 37 Wirraway Pde, Inala, Qld 4077 Brisbane, Australia
3 School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140 New Zealand
4 School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia
5 School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, 4072 Brisbane, Australia
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2013, 13:108 doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-108Published: 21 September 2013
Paper-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks have promoted a preventive approach to primary care and provided data to support research at the Inala Indigenous Health Service, south-west Brisbane, Australia. Concerns about the limitations of paper-based health checks prompted us to change to a computerised system to realise potential benefits for clinical services and research capability. We describe the rationale, implementation and anticipated benefits of computerised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks in one primary health care setting.
In May 2010, the Inala Indigenous Health Service commenced a project to computerise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, adult, diabetic, and antenatal health checks. The computerised health checks were launched in September 2010 and then evaluated for staff satisfaction, research consent rate and uptake. Ethical approval for health check data to be used for research purposes was granted in December 2010.
Three months after the September 2010 launch date, all but two health checks (378 out of 380, 99.5%) had been completed using the computerised system. Staff gave the system a median mark of 8 out of 10 (range 5-9), where 10 represented the highest level of overall satisfaction. By September 2011, 1099 child and adult health checks, 138 annual diabetic checks and 52 of the newly introduced antenatal checks had been completed. These numbers of computerised health checks are greater than for the previous year (2010) of paper-based health checks with a risk difference of 0.07 (95% confidence interval 0.05, 0.10). Additionally, two research projects based on computerised health check data were underway.
The Inala Indigenous Health Service has demonstrated that moving from paper-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks to a system using computerised health checks is feasible and can facilitate research. We expect computerised health checks will improve clinical care and continue to enable research projects using validated data, reflecting the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community’s priorities.