Making Continuous Quality Improvement Everybody’s Business

Ms Kerry Copley1, Ms Louise Patel1

1Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT , Darwin, Australia


Our presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of developing and implementing a state or territory wide continuous quality improvement (CQI) strategy. Our aim was to ensure that it is relevant and effective at all levels of the system, especially for local primary healthcare providers, enabling them to prioritise local issues and planning for improvement for their own communities.

We will look at how we work directly with Aboriginal community controlled and government primary health care services, to support them to apply the principles of the NT CQI Strategy in the local setting, to improve their systems of care delivery and prioritise actions to address local health issues and service delivery gaps.

A key enabler has been to build CQI skills and confidence in the PHC workforce so that quality improvement thinking and methodology becomes embedded and part or everyday work for already busy health centre teams. We have made CQI everybody’s business.  Establishing and providing ongoing mentoring for a CQI workforce to provide hands-on support at the grassroots level has been invaluable as has an ongoing focus on health centre lead initiatives for improvement.

It is possible to have a whole of jurisdiction strategy, linking in with national CQI initiatives, that brings consistency and also allows for flexibility for local organisations to address their own community’s priorities for improvement. The NT CQI Strategy has undergone external evaluation allowing us to practice what we preach and apply CQI methodology to our own work. We will share some of the learnings from the last 9 years of implementing the NT CQI Strategy.


Kerry and Louise have  developed and supported the implementation of a Territory wide Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) strategy for Aboriginal Primary Health Care across the Northern Territory.  Their roles have included training and mentoring a team of CQI Facilitators who work directly with PHC services and supporting the systematic use of clinical data to drive and inform change for remote and urban Aboriginal Community Controlled and NT Government PHC services. The overall objective of the NT CQI Strategy is to embed CQI and make it “Everybody’s Business” to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Territory.