Quality Use of Pathology Program - Program Guidelines

Quality Use of Pathology Program - Program Guidelines- Introduction

Page last updated: 18 June 2012


The Quaity Use of Pathology Program Guidelines (the Guidelines) are designed to provide details about the Quality Use of Pathology Program (QUPP).

Program Background

The Australian Government aims to ensure access to high quality, safe, clinically relevant and cost effective pathology services.
The QUPP was established in 1999 under the pathology Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between pathology stakeholders and the Australian Government (represented by the Department of Health and Ageing). There has been a continued commitment to the Quality Use of Pathology Program in the recent Pathology Funding Agreement (PFA) signed in April 2011. Program funding of up to $2 million per annum is allocated for the 2012-13 to 2015-16 financial years under the PFA towards supporting innovative approaches to improving the quality of pathology services.

The QUPP has been guided by a Departmentally-appointed consultative committee since its inception. The membership of the Quality Use of Pathology Committee (QUPC) comprises nominees from peak bodies and organisations representing the pathology profession, medical practitioners, tertiary education, pathology consumers and representatives from the Department.

Further information on the QUPP can be found on the Department of Health and Ageing website or by contacting the Director, Pathology Quality Section.

Program Purpose, Scope, Objectives and Outcomes

The goal of the Quality Use of Pathology Program (QUPP) is to achieve improvement in health and economic outcomes from the quality use of pathology in health care, through the pursuit of better practice amongst requesters/referrers and providers of pathology services and knowledgeable and engaged consumers.

The program is structured into three key areas of focus with the following key objectives:
  • Quality Consumer Services: To develop and improve consumer-focussed, accessible and coordinated services that promote informed choice and meet consumer needs;
  • Quality Referrals (Requesting/Ordering): To support referral practices that are informed and facilitated by best practice professional relationships and protocols between referrers and providers; that are informed by evidence; that maximise health benefits; and that inform and engage consumers; and
  • Quality Pathology Practice: To support professional practice standards that meet consumer and referrer needs and provide evidence-based, best practice, quality-assured services that are safe, cost effective and efficient.
In recent years there has also been an increasing focus on the funding of initiatives aimed at developing and testing strategies to minimise error and promote patient safety, elements of which may address one or more areas of focus. This work has had strong relevance to the strategic focus of the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council.

Roles and responsibilities

The Grant Program Process outlines the roles and responsibilities of each party.
The allocation of QUPP funding will be determined by the Department and advice from the QUPC will inform the Department’s decision making process.

The Funding Approver for the QUPP is the Assistant Secretary, Primary Care, Diagnostics and Radiation Oncology Branch, Medical Benefits Division. The Minister for the Department of Health and Ageing will not be required to approve funding.

The Department will:
  • manage the funding round process, including the approval of funding agreements and deliverables, and will also manage the funding agreements;
  • liaise with all applicants;
  • manage the QUPC (i.e. provide secretariat support and consider the expert technical advice in relation to applications); and
  • inform all applicants about whether or not their applications have been successful.
QUPC members will not have voting rights and will only provide technical commentary on project proposals to allow the Department to more effectively assess applications in QUPP Funding Rounds. QUPC members will not be involved in the assessment of project applications or making recommendations for allocation of QUPP funding. All QUPC members providing technical advice will be required to sign/ declare a conflict of interest. Where there may be a conflict of interest, or a perceived conflict of interest, QUPC members will not provide commentary on relevant QUPP funding applications. (See Part 3, Probity.)

The QUPP Overarching Principles and Guiding Assumptions document will be used as a tool to assist with the assessment of applications for QUPP funding and ensures proposals are consistent with program priorities. The guiding principles and assumptions have been developed by the department and the QUPC in consultation with the broader pathology, requester and consumer stakeholder community. This document is titled QUPP Overarching Principles and Guiding Assumptions and can be viewed at: http://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/qupp-qupp-workplan.html

Anticipated key dates

The following table outlines the anticipated timeline for the 2012-13 QUPP funding round.
MilestoneAnticipated Dates
Program AnnouncedMid February 2013
Guidelines PublishedMid February 2013
Applications OpenMid February 2013
Applications CloseLate March 2013
Assessment and DecisionMid May 2013
Program Ends30 June 2016