About the clinical care standards
Clinical care standards can play an important role in delivering appropriate care and reducing unwarranted variation, as they define the care people should expect to be offered or receive, regardless of where they are treated in Australia.
The Commission established the Clinical Care Standards program to support clinical experts and consumers develop clinical care standards on health conditions that would benefit from a national coordinated approach.
This is in recognition that:
- Appropriateness of clinical care is a major focus in improving the quality of health care provision
- A gap exists between what we know and what we do
- Unwarranted variation is variation in care that is not explained by the clinical circumstances or personal choices of the patient.
- Some reasons for unwarranted variation include:
- Overuse of treatments or procedures that are not effective
- Underuse of care that we know can help
- A lack of training or consistency in guidelines.
Development and consultation
Each clinical care standard is developed in collaboration with a topic working group of clinicians, researchers and consumers. The group use the most current evidence from guidelines, information about gaps between evidence and practice, their expertise and knowledge of the issues affecting the appropriate delivery of care, and consideration of issues that are important to consumers.
A public consultation process is conducted on each draft clinical care standard and associated documents before finalisation and publication.
The endorsement process is a fundamental part of governance and stakeholder engagement for the development of the Commission’s national clinical care standards. The Commission seeks endorsement from key professional and consumer bodies in order to communicate their support for the quality of care described in a clinical care standard. Consultation regarding endorsement begins at the outset of the project and continues through to the launch of the final standard and subsequent review.
Read the Consultation and Endorsement: Clinical Care Standards statement for an overview of the Commission’s approach to consultation and endorsement when developing clinical care standards.
Evaluation and review
Clinical Care Standards are evaluated in accordance with the Program Logic for development and implementation of a Clinical Care Standard.
Evaluation focuses on four key areas:
- Relevance and feasibility to implement
- Adoption and use
- Championing by stakeholder and interest groups
- Improvements in quality of care
As part of planned review, an evaluation of the Antimicrobial Stewardship, Delirium and Hip Fracture Care clinical Care Standards was undertaken. The research found that:
- 96% of health services surveyed reported that the clinical care standards are improving quality of care
- 92% of health services surveyed found the clinical care standards relevant.
Read the Evaluation Report to find out more about how clinical care standards are driving changes in care.
Clinical care standards are periodically reviewed for currency, and to reflect new evidence or improvements in care.
Quality statements within the clinical care standards describe high priority areas for quality improvement. They are identified based on areas of current variation, information about what we know works in terms of treatments, procedures and processes, and what care should be offered to a patient.
Each clinical care standard:
- Helps people to know what care to expect for a particular clinical condition, helps them make informed decisions about treatment in collaboration with their health professional
- Provides guidance to health professionals so they can deliver quality care and have informed discussions about treatment options with their patients
- Sets out the components of care that health services can use to guide practice and monitor improvement in their hospitals and other services where the clinical care standard is applicable.