Whither divisions of general practice? An empirical and policy analysis of the impact of Divisions within the Australian health care system

Anthony Scott, William Coote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine the effect of Divisions of General Practice on various measures of primary care performance. Design and setting: Regression analysis using longitudinal data across Australia. Participants: All Divisions of General Practice between 2002 and 2004. Main outcome measures: Fourteen indicators of primary care performance in the areas of general practice infrastructure, access, multidisciplinary working, chronic disease, and measurable aspects of quality of care. Results: Between 2002 and 2004, Divisions and the activities they performed were associated with a number of measures of primary care performance, particularly measures of general practice infrastructure. Of the total variation in each performance indicator, between 19% and 64% can be attributed to the influence of Divisions while controlling for remoteness, health needs, and general practitioner characteristics. In all regression models, these effects were significant (P < 0.05). Divisions that provided support in electronic communication and electronic transfer of data were associated with: a 0.56 (95% CI, - 0.04 to 1.2; P=0.07) percentage point increase in the proportion of Practice Incentives Program (PIP) practices; a 0.73 (95% CI, - 0.09 to 1.5; P = 0708) percentage point increase in the proportion of PIP practices with electronic prescribing software; and a 0.66 (95% CI, 0.05 to 1.3; P=0.03) percentage point increase in the proportion of PIP practices with a modem. Divisions providing activities with an asthma focus were associated with a 0.84 (95% CI, 0.02 to 1.5; P=0.01) percentage point increase in the proportion of PIP practices receiving the asthma sign-on payment. There were no significant effects of Division activities on clinical aspects of care, such as GP claims for Service Incentive Payments for asthma, diabetes or cervical screening. Conclusions: Divisions of General Practice had an effect on primary care performance in a difficult health system context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

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