A sophisticated shared care planning platform is being rolled out to general practices in North Queensland thanks to Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) as part of its First Nations Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program.
The INCA platform, developed by Precedence Health Care, enhances multi-disciplinary team care with health professionals equipped to manage patient health data, create, and monitor care plans, and share information digitally.
NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said Precedence Health Care was working with NQPHN to pilot INCA as part of its First Nations CQI program which aimed to dramatically improve access to culturally safe health assessments for First Nations people within its catchment over the next 12 months.
“NQPHN is confident INCA will be part of a coordinated and comprehensive approach needed to improve the health situation, enhance clinical care and management, and reduce the health burden and preventable hospitalisation of First Nations people,” said Ms Whyte.
“NQPHN has secured licenses for the system on behalf of general practices so there will be no cost to use the system, which has been developed and enhanced over the last decade.
“The system allows healthcare providers to create Medicare-compliant general practice management plans (GPMPs) and team care arrangements (TCAs) and share the plans with the care team automatically.
“It also allows GPs to allocate tasks and send automatic reminders when actions need completing, track and monitor adherence to the plan, and store all approved and shared documentation in one record.
“The practices that have registered with us will all have access to a 12-month licence funded by NQPHN. Recently secured funding is enabling us to continue supporting the early adopters as part of the CQI initiative for an additional year, while also supporting general practices not participating in the CQI to take up the option of trialling INCA in 2023 as part of the new NQPHN Primary Care Digital and Technology Enhancement Project.
“All practices are offered a demonstration and, if accepted, INCA is installed, and practice staff are trained. Allied Health professionals who regularly receive referrals from the practices are also trained and supported by Precedence Health Care.
“One of the many benefits of this platform is that those services receiving referrals for participation in Team Care Arrangements do not need to have the system installed, they simply receive an encrypted link which once accepted gives them access to the Shared Care documentation.”
Precedence Health Care General Manager Grant Williamson said the company was “excited to partner with NQPHN on a ground-breaking project that will see them rollout INCA, Australia's leading shared care platform, to health care professionals involved in a program to improve the health status for First Nations people living across North Queensland”.
“The INCA shared care platform will help co-ordinate the care and achieve positive outcomes for First Nations people,” said Mr Williamson.
"This is the first of many programs with NQPHN, extending Australia's leading shared care platform to work in co-ordinating multi-disciplinary health teams."
The first clinic to go “live” with INCA in a general practice as part of the CQI initiative is Dr John Di Palma at the Medical and Skin Cancer Surgery in Innisfail.
He said the team was “quite excited about the program as it seemed to receive ‘better engagement’ with our First Nations patients, as well as other patient cultural groups.”
Dr Di Palma said the aim of the program was “to improve holistic quality of care to my patients”.
“It is particularly beneficial to our First Nations patients, due to the comprehensive data collection in the program’s platform, and patients really feel ownership and it is culturally appropriate,” said Dr Di Palma.
“Prompts and discussions regarding health issues and concerns can be delivered in a language that is easy to understand and comprehend.
“This program really promotes better health outcomes for First Nations patients, as doing the assessments is all-in-one platform, and referrals are sent through the program to allied health providers.”
Dr Di Palma said the INCA platform certainly met the criteria under Medicare guidelines, with “tracing” and “tracking” of care as well all criteria for claiming of assessments.
Pictured are Innisfail’s Medical and Skin Cancer Surgery Practice Nurse Dell Patterson and Dr John Di Palma.