South Australia – sharing digital tools for transformation across health organisations

Background

For the Ngarrindjeri people in the Lower River Murray region, moorundi means river – where life begins and connects health, water and culture[1]. Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (Moorundi) delivers holistic health care and wellbeing programs and has been a partner of Jawun since 2016. The organisation provides a range of community health services including Integrated Team Care (ITC) to support people with chronic disease, clinics, and allied health services. Moorundi also runs community engagement initiatives focused on Tumbetun Namawi mi:wi, or ‘healing our spirit’, including yarning groups, the Deadly Nannas group, and programs linking language and culture with social and emotional wellbeing. Since 2016, 17 corporate and government employees have supported Moorundi’s work through Jawun.

Like many Aboriginal Health Services, Moorundi uses a Telstra Health product called Communicare, an electronic health and practice management system specifically designed for community health. In 2018, Moorundi management reviewed the benefits of Communicare amid concerns that its reporting functionality was extremely slow (it took days to generate a report) and it did not support visually compelling dashboards for real-time presentation of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data. As a result, a series of secondees were placed at Moorundi to explore other options. Their brief was to establish a solution that would optimize Moorundi’s work and results by visualising in real time its performance data plus trends or relationships in patient health and treatment outcomes.

Approach

Moorundi’s first secondees, in 2016, had worked on organisational dashboard tools to show key data as well as reviewing community outreach practices. This enabled the organisation to start better understanding its reach (for example, it showed that 20-25 year olds were largely omitted from its preventive and curative health outreach services despite their needs). But being integrated with Communicare, the dashboards were limited in their potential for guiding performance improvement. Further limitations were noticed when a review of Moorundi’s Medicare billing practices was carried out by QBE secondee Michael Garrod, and Westpac secondee and ex-nurse, Fiona Steventon. Their review concluded that Medicare billing was not being used effectively – many consultations were not generating revenue and those that were, were not being coded properly.  Over three to four months, it was calculated that a further $70K could be available to their organisation through improved practices, an amount which could provide for an increased doctor presence.

These early secondments generated valuable intelligence for those that followed and proved the effectiveness of Jawun’s approach where a series of secondees work consecutively to define significant and long-term solutions for improving the capacity of Indigenous organisations.

In South Australia, a single Jawun Regional Director supports both Lower River Murray and Far West Coast regions, giving him a unique opportunity to guide collaboration and learning between the organisations in both regions. In 2017, while secondees worked at Moorundi in Lower River Murray, Jawun’s Regional Director was also placing secondees into a health service in Far West Coast, Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (CKAHSAC). One in particular was reviewing financial reporting tools and had identified Microsoft Power BI as a beneficial tool to amplify the Communicare product via dashboards. Given the potential for this tool to be useful for both health services, a Jawun secondee was sought with a skillset in Microsoft Power BI to work across both organisations.

It took a year to find a secondee appropriate for this work. In 2018, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank secondee Stuart Fitton took on the challenge. Stuart customised and implemented Microsoft Power BI dashboards with both health services and travelled between the regions to support collaboration on the new tool. Stuart brought Moorundi Manager, Damien Rigney to meet with Jessie Sleep, Corporate Services Manager at CKAHSAC and look together at the interactive dashboard. Both organisations brought something different to the project: Moorundi, a younger health service operating since 2013, brought innovation and vision; whilst CKAHSAC, in operation since 1978, brought deep experience and understanding of what information would be most valuable (they saw quickly, for instance, that dashboards needed to capture referral pathways, since non-referrals result in both the patient missing out on care and the service missing out on fees).

Outcomes

As a result of the secondments, both health services are in the process of adopting new and affordable health dashboard based on Microsoft Power BI. For both, these will serve as a ‘Nerve Centre’ to view critical metrics, identify key trends, raise questions, and inform new management strategies. 

The new dashboards will fast-track reporting activities: previously a management or donor report on key data could take up to two days to produce, whereas now, both health services have report-ready visualisations of real time information available immediately for sharing.

Most importantly, the efficiencies allow Moorundi and CKAHSAC to focus on what really matters; their clients and community. Less time and energy will be spent on business administration, and more time on analysing key data and devising new ways to support community health and wellbeing.

Speaking of the outcomes of Stuart Fitton’s work, Moorundi CEO Steve Sumner reflected:

“Stuart was able to implement Power BI for Moorundi, giving us direct access to important statistical data for report writing and tenders. He was able to capture significant data to support expenditure and work performance. We can now monitor work performance especially around our episodes of care, GP Clinics, and Medicare rebates. Stuart understood Moorundi’s holistic vision of Primary Health Care, met all our expectations and more”.

Finally, a working collaboration has been strengthened between two Aboriginal health services. Over 800kms apart, Moorundi and CKAHSAC have been brought into a partnership of mutual support and ideas exchange through the Jawun model, which works in-place with Indigenous organisations to facilitate their long-term growth through strategic secondment of skilled corporate and government employees. Of this benefit and the power of the Jawun network, Jessie Sleep (Corporate Services Manager, CKAHSAC) reflected:

“This project not only delivered great outcomes for our organisation but afforded us the opportunity to share our experiences as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. We were able to share how we are driving outcomes to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Next steps
Moorundi and CKAHSAC will continue to seek efficiencies and improve community health outcomes through their custom-built Microsoft BI dashboards. Secondees will be deployed to both health services in 2019 to continue supporting how the new dashboard tools can improve performance culture and guide continuous service improvement. Secondments will also include mentoring and training of health service staff to maximise the benefits of Microsoft Power BI.

More broadly, those dashboards can now be introduced to other Aboriginal Medical Services, since most have the same information management foundation (Communicare). This is an opportunity Jawun will pursue with its Indigenous health service partners around the country.


[1] https://www.moorundi.org.au/name-logo