Enhancing prevention in primary health care – Phase 2


Status current

Start Date

Estimated End Date


Strengthening the role of Primary Health Networks in the prevention of chronic disease

Project title

What is the issue?

Primary health care has an important role in assessing, preventing and managing the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for chronic disease. Australia’s Primary Health Networks (PHNs) can play a role in developing partnerships with key stakeholders to commission and coordinate new preventive services and programs and to integrate clinical and population health approaches to chronic disease prevention.  It is not clear, however, what this looks like in practice.

How is the project addressing the issue?

Following the first phase of our research into strengthening the role of PHNs in prevention, this project aims to identify what prevention approaches are feasible, are working well, or could potentially work well, in primary health care.

The project will identify a cardiovascular disease prevention initiative with PHNs and stakeholders, then trial and evaluate this prevention initiative across three to four PHNs to determine feasibility of scaling up such an initiative across all PHNs in Australia. The trial will be implemented in two phases and a number of stages using an adaptive model.

Relevance for practice

Through identifying the barriers to prevention approaches in primary care, such as practice facilitation (which has the potential to play a key role in primary care redesign), there is the potential  to improve the coherence of the PHN effort in reducing the burden of chronic disease in Australia and in using resources more effectively to better prevent and manage chronic disease.


Other publications

  • Bonner C. Influencing change: Why when and how. Invited presentation and two-hour workshop hosted by Wiser Healthcare NHMRC program. Melbourne, Australia, 4 March 2020. (Attended by about 50 academic researchers and clinicians from Bond, Sydney and Monash universities and two national consumer representatives.)
  • Bonner C. CVD Risk Calculator. Pen CS User Summit hosted by GP clinical audit software company licensed to most PHNs in Australia. Sydney, Australia, 20 March 2020. (Attended by about 50 PHN staff from all states/territories.)
  • Bonner C. CHAT-GP project Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Tool. Queensland Statewide GP Liaison Officer Meeting hosted by OUR Primary Health Network. Brisbane, Australia, 25 November 2019. (Attended by Queensland PHN staff from seven regions.)
  • Bonner C. What research and activities are currently happening around clinical decision support tools for CVD risk? (Overview of CHAT-GP intervention and research program). National Stakeholder Roundtable hosted by National Heart Foundation and ANU. Canberra, Australia, 29 November 2019. (Attended by 25 stakeholders involved in national clinical guidelines planning, including clinicians, researchers, not for profit and government organisation representatives.


Funding for this research has been provided from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The MRFF provides funding to support health and medical research and innovation, with the objective of improving the health and wellbeing of Australians. MRFF funding has been provided to The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre under the MRFF Boosting Preventive Health Research Program. Further information on the MRFF is available at www.health.gov.au/mrff.