How are we really doing?

Latest news 14 July 2016 | Recently, we shared with the media the findings of a report on CM Health’s performance.

The report, Quality Improvement at Counties Manukau Health; A Case Study Evaluation, led by Professor Robin Gauld from the University of Otago, showed that while there are definitely areas for improvement, we really are heading in the direction we want to go.  What’s more, we’ve developed a distinctive culture here where everyone is committed to continually doing better.

We’re trying to deliver healthcare services to a population of 500,000 with high levels of socio-economic deprivation and the well-documented corresponding healthcare challenges of which you will all be aware. It’s complex and expensive, and we have to constantly be asking ourselves; how are we really doing?

That’s where System Level Measures (SLMs) come in. Developed by Ko Awatea’s Dr Mataroria Lyndon and team, SLMs are 16 measures which give a whole-of-system dashboard review of our performance.

Based on these SLMs, the report identified we were at the top in three of these, including wait times for elective surgery, with all patients eligible for surgery receiving treatment within the New Zealand target of four months.

We are also ahead in our management of cardiovascular risk. Within this measure, 91 per cent of patients have had their cardiovascular risk assessed in the last five years. This exceeds the national average of 88 per cent.

We are also performing well integrating patients back into primary care, and we have more patients enrolled with GP clinics within a month of being discharged from hospital than other healthcare organisations that were compared.

In other measures, CM Health is performing ahead of its peers such as hospital standardised mortality rates and is exceeding the national target for shorter stays in the emergency department, according to the report.

However, there are areas where the organisation needs to improve, including life expectancy for Maaori at birth. This is 72 years, well under the OECD average of 80.5 years and therefore addressing health equity is the key focus of the strategic plan “Healthy Together”

The report also identified higher numbers of avoidable (ambulatory sensitive) hospitalisations that occur in other healthcare organisations.

But, like any organisation there are areas where we must strive to improve especially for healthy equity. The report identified clear gaps in life expectancy for Maaori and identified higher numbers of avoidable (ambulatory sensitive) hospitalisations for Maaori and Pacific. As you will know, addressing health equity is our key focus of our Healthy Together Strategy. Although achieving health equity will take time, we are committed to the journey.

What I’ve always said, and what this report has identified, is that it is not so much what we’re achieved, as our potential for further achievement and our collective commitment to that process.

To make lasting and significant improvements for the health of our population we need more than merely system-wide change. We also need to nurture a culture of ambition and a restlessness to continually improve.

Last week at the Deloitte IPANZ Public Sector Excellence Awards 2016,  Dr Lyndon was recognised for his work on System Level Measures and health equity.  In fact Mataroria was named Young Professional of the Year, which is an incredible honor and acknowledgement of his hard work.  I couldn't be more proud.

Geraint