511 The Role Of The Australian Divisions Of General Practice In Promoting A Population Health Approach In General Practice

Jane Sims
Aim: The 1998 General Practice Strategy Review recommended promulgation of a population health approach within general practice. The Divisions of General Practice provide structures to enable delivery of population health ventures. This study aimed to determine the extent to which the Review’s recommendation had been implemented via the Divisions Network and to describe the barriers and enablers that influence the implementation and sustainability of population health programs in the Australian general practice setting.
Method: The study was part of a larger project that examined the evidence regarding the relative effectiveness of population health interventions in general practice using Glasgow et al’s REAIM model as its contextual basis. A multifaceted approach was adopted. The strategic plans of all 123 Divisions were audited. Key Divisions were subsequently surveyed, firstly by mail, then via a telephone interview. Standardised data collection templates were used throughout.
Results Seventy-seven interviews were conducted with personnel Australia-wide. Activities were occurring across all National Health Priority areas, although asthma and cancer programs were less commonly represented. A range of sub-populations was being targeted, with rural communities receiving particular attention. Enablers included structural factors such as financial incentives, evidence based guidelines, mechanisms to promote intersectoral collaboration, GP education and consumer involvement. Workload, attitudinal and communication factors acted as barriers.
Barriers and enablers were consistent with the literature. The reach of existing programs should be extended to promote broader adoption. Cultural and resource issues continually need to be addressed to optimise the impact of population health activities.
511 The Role of the Australian Divisions of General Practice in Promoting a Population Health Approach in General Practice