Good Medicine Better Health

Partnering with Aboriginal health professionals and communities to improve quality use of medicines and medical tests

Good Medicine Better Health

Key points

The Good Medicine Better Health program aims to:

  • provide CPD-accredited education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners on a range of conditions
  • build skills around the quality and safe use of medicines in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia
  • enable access to the best resources to improve community understanding of quality use of medicines
  • assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners in their career progression to help retain these roles that are essential to supporting good healthcare
 

A successful program reimagined

Good Medicines Better Health 2010–12 successfully trained over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners. But the passage of nearly a decade has changed both quality use of medicines and clinical training in ways that require a reimagining of the program and its aims and methods. NPS MedicineWise sought feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to understand the value of the 2010–12 Good Medicines Better Health program.

  • Feedback from stakeholders indicated that there was still value in the content, however new technologies should be considered to increase availability. Face-to-face training had limitations. As a result the program now includes an online learning environment, offering flexibility and convenience.
  • Further, stakeholders noted that this work should be underpinned by strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance.

The Good Medicine Better Health Advisory Group has been established to guide the program from 2019. They have set a vision and mission for the program.

Components of a reimagined Good Medicine Better Health program
Figure 1. Components of a reimagined Good Medicine Better Health program.

Vision

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners are skilled and empowered in quality use of medicines.

Mission

We provide training and resources needed to deliver the quality and safe use of medicines that is responsive to local needs to achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Principles

The redesigned program will:

  • contribute to health outcomes of communities by supporting the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners
  • be reviewed and evaluated frequently to ensure that it is continuously improved and is providing relevant education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners
  • have flexibility to allow for broad reach and local implementation
  • support the alignment to CPD and training requirements
  • consist of online content that allows for easy updates and version control
  • collect data and analytics on how resources are used
  • build partnerships and leverage existing content and resources, where possible
  • support the use of digital resources with consumers to help with medicines compliance
  • ensure that it complements existing training, is fit for purpose and supports evidence-based best practice
  • respect and incorporate the advice of the GMBHAG wherever practicable, as this group represents the voices and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations.

Partnerships

Key partnerships have been identified and built with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, PHNs and state-based Aboriginal community-controlled health services to facilitate the delivery and uptake of the program.

Co-design

The overall format and accessibility of the online platform will be co-designed with key users and partners. Co-design will also help to inform the accessibility of the mentorship program and platform, and other key education resources.

Content development

Content is developed in collaboration with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations and national peak bodies. The content will be developed incrementally, based on the existing modules that were previously provided as face-to-face training. These will be updated and made available as online learning modules.

 
 

Building on good foundations: Good Medicines Better Health

The first Good Medicines Better Health program aimed to improve the quality use of medicines in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The program was delivered from 2010 to 2012 by a partnership between the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Heart Foundation, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia and NPS MedicineWise.

The program focused on delivering a series of training modules to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners in Aboriginal community-controlled health services. The training was delivered either directly by a training team or through a train-the-trainer model to build capacity of the more experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners to deliver training to their colleagues.

The program developed four core training modules – a foundation module on QUM and three chronic disease-specific modules (QUM in asthma, hypertension and type 2 diabetes). Additionally, consumer tools for those three disease areas were developed and released for use in communities.

See the Good Medicine Better Health consumer resources at the NACCHO website

The 2010–12 program trained 264 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). The program was evaluated, and recommendations were made to improve the overall success of the program. These are being implemented in GMBH v2 in 2019–20.

At NPS MedicineWise, we respect and acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners of the lands we call home. We pay respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging. To live this respect, it’s vital that this program is underpinned by strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance.

The Good Medicine Better Health Advisory Group aims to ensure that:

  • the vision of the Good Medicine Better Health program aligns with the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard and respected at every stage of design and development
  • education materials and consumer resources are culturally appropriate
  • education design meets the needs of Aboriginal health workers and practitioners
  • the program is flexible to allow for local adaptation and implementation.
 

Working in partnership

Starting in September 2019, the advisory group meets regularly to oversee the design and progress of the program.

Good Medicine Better Health Advisory Group members

Karl Briscoe
CEO, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA)

Karrina Demasi
Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

Leonie Williamson
Policy Advisor, Lowitja Institute

Mike Stephens
Director Medicines Policy and Programs, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

James Harris
Workforce Development Manager, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA)

Dr Jason Agostino
GP and epidemiologist, Australian National University, GP Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service

The program is also supported by strong partnerships with a range of stakeholder organisations.

Good Medicines Better Health stakeholder organisations

 

How we work

The Advisory Group meets four times a year, with secretariat support services provided by NPS MedicineWise.

Inaugural meeting of the Good Medicine Better Health Advisory Group – Redfern, 3 September 2019

The Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group is tasked with providing advice to NPS MedicineWise on building a program that will grow the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners in the quality and safe use of medicines.

The first meeting of the advisory group was held on 3 September 2019 at The Djiyagiyalang-Gal Hub (NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce) in Redfern. A background and evaluation on the previous program helped to set the scene to start building the new program. It was proposed that the program be split into different components to allow for staggered development and rollout – with the staggered approach to allow for testing of education platform and resources.

The inaugural meeting was an opportunity for the Advisory Group to begin proposing and drafting the overall program mission and vision, core program principles and outcomes, and program measures.

Key themes that emerged from the meeting included:

  • Strong partnerships will be a key factor for a successful redesigned program.
  • Education should have a digital component but maintain cultural appropriateness and have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation wherever possible.
  • Education should be flexible to allow for local adaption and place-based training.
Inaugural meeting of the Good Medicine Better Health Advisory Group – Redfern, 3 September 2019

Meeting 2 at AMSANT office – Darwin 7 November 2019

The Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group met for the second time on 7 November 2019, a day after the NACCHO Members’ Conference ‘Because of Them, We Must’ in Darwin.

The meeting was hosted by AMSANT in their Darwin office. At the second meeting, the GMBH Advisory Group:

  • formally accepted the Terms of Reference (TOR)
  • drafted a framework outlining online module development for the program
  • provided input into proposed logo concepts for the redesigned program
  • refined their wording for the overall program mission and vision, core program principles and outcomes, and program measures.


Meeting 2 at AMSANT office – Darwin 7 November 2019
Meeting 2 at AMSANT office – Darwin 7 November 2019

Meeting 3 via Zoom – 2 April 2020

The Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group met for the third time (but for the first time via Zoom).

At the third meeting, the GMBH Advisory Group:

  • discussed the new funding arrangements and deliverables for the GMBH program.
  • were provided an outline of a new opportunity to address QUM issues faced by Remote Aboriginal Health Services work as a subproject of the GMBH program.
  • provided advice and input into the various components of the GMBH program, including scoping for the diabetes and hypertension material
  • discussed COVID-19 and the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

At the meeting, it was also noted that NATSIHWA provided advice on scope of practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers via an article in Croakey about supplying and administering medicines as health professionals are not allowed to visit remote communities during COVID-19.

Meeting 4 via Zoom – 22 May 2020

The Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group met for the fourth time, via Zoom. Karl Briscoe Chaired the fourth GMBH Advisory Group meeting.

The GMBH Advisory Group:

  • discussed mentoring program models, and received an update on the NATSIHWA mentoring platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers
  • provided advice and input into the various components of the GMBH program, including the learning outcomes for the diabetes and hypertension material
  • discussed and selected the next two education topics for the GMBH program
  • provided input into the evaluation plan for the overall GMBH program
  • discussed the TOR for the GMBH Advisory Group to ensure that it reflects the breadth of advice that may be sought by NPS MedicineWise.

Meeting 5 via Zoom – 31 July 2020

The Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group met for the fifth time via Zoom. The fifth meeting of the Advisory Group included discussions on:

  • An overall workplan for the GMBH program, including the specific components of the program, the resources that will underpin the education developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners and how the program will be evaluated.
  • Proposed approaches towards the development of consumer resources for the GMBH program and how this will align with the education and training provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners.
  • The quality use of medicines within Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services.

Meeting 6 via Zoom – 31 August 2020

The sixth meeting of the Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group was held via Zoom and Chaired by Leonie Williamson from the Lowitja Institute. At this meeting, Members:

  • Finalised their feedback and advice on the workplan developed for the overall GMBH program, including proposed program components and their proposed approach to evaluation.
  • Provided input and advice into the diabetes education being developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners as part of the program.
  • Provided advice on how to best to start the development of consumer resources for this program.

Meeting 7 via Zoom – 30 October 2020

The seventh meeting of the Good Medicine Better Health (GMBH) Advisory Group was held via Zoom and Chaired by James Harris from Djinda Creative Resources. At this meeting, Members:

  • Provided input and advice into the heart failure and mental health education being developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners as part of the program.
  • Provided advice on how to best to recruit community members to inform the development of consumer resources for this program.
  • Highlighted who would be appropriate members of our Champion Network who can help promote the program.
 

New program, new look

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NPS MedicineWise engaged Dreamtime Creative to help develop a logo for the redesigned program. Dreamtime Creative was involved in developing the original images for Good Medicines Better Health 2010–12. Along with a redesigned program and a new look, we decided to change the name to Good Medicine Better Health. The new name aims to incorporates medical tests and other health technologies.

The logo’s three circles symbolise good medicine (green), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers (blue) and the new training approaches of the program (yellow). The smaller circles encapsulate the larger group as one.

The designer is Jordan Lovegrove, a young Ngarrindjeri man who combines intimate knowledge of Aboriginal communities and illustration skills to develop outstanding Indigenous artwork which is applied to a range of print and online communications.

Find out more about Dreamtime Creative

Asthma

The QUM for asthma in communities modules aim to increase the confidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners to educate patients about their asthma, their asthma medicines and devices, and how to support a person having an asthma attack.

Asthma: Key points

These modules will help you:

  • explain asthma and the signs and symptoms of asthma to patients
  • understand the different medicines available and when it is appropriate to use these medicines
  • demonstrate the correct techniques for various asthma inhalers and spacers
  • recognise the signs of an asthma attack, what to do in the community and the need for and elements of an asthma action plan.
 

High blood pressure

This course consists of two 40-minute modules that aim to increase the confidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners to educate clients and community members about high blood pressure and how to manage it. Participants will gain knowledge about risk factors for high blood pressure, common blood pressure medicines and how they work, and learn ways to reduce the risk for developing cardiovascular complications.

High blood pressure: Key points

These modules will help you:

  • describe cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including high blood pressure
  • explain the importance of annual health checks to prevent CVD and manage risk
  • detail how blood pressure medicines work including side effects and potential interactions
  • explain how lifestyle changes along with blood pressure medicines can help to reduce CVD risk.
 

Type 2 diabetes

This course consists of one 40-minute module that aims to increase the confidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners to educate clients and community members about medicines in type 2 diabetes. Participants will gain knowledge about risk factors for type 2 diabetes and common diabetes medicines and their side effects. They will also gain an understanding of how lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and adherence to medicines, can reduce the risk for developing cardiovascular complications.

Good Medicine Better Health: Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes: Key points

This module will help you:

  • explain the importance of getting regular health checks to check blood sugars, heart health and cardiovascular disease
  • describe the risks for getting type 2 diabetes, what the symptoms are and how diabetes affects the body
  • talk about the long-term complications of diabetes and how to avoid them
  • describe different type 2 diabetes medicines and how they work
  • discuss the lifestyle changes your community members can make to help manage their diabetes.