Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Primary Health Care Research & Development



First Page


PubMed ID



Cambridge University Press


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Edith Cowan University


McCullough, K., Doleman, G., Dunham, M., Whitehead, L., & Porock, D. (2024). Are remote health clinics primary health care focused? Validation of the primary health care engagement (PHCE) scale for the Australian remote primary health care setting. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 25(e3), 1-8.


AIM: To test and validate a measure of primary health care (PHC) engagement in the Australian remote health context. BACKGROUND: PHC principles include quality improvement, community participation and orientation of health care, patient-centred continuity of care, accessibility, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Measuring the alignment of services with the principles of PHC provides a method of evaluating the quality of care in community settings. METHODS: A two-stage design of initial content and face validity evaluation by a panel of experts and then pilot-testing the instrument via survey methods was conducted. Twelve experts from clinical, education, management and research roles within the remote health setting evaluated each item in the original instrument. Panel members evaluated the representativeness and clarity of each item for face and content validity. Qualitative responses were also collected and included suggestions for changes to item wording. The modified tool was pilot-tested with 47 remote area nurses. Internal consistency reliability of the Australian Primary Health Care Engagement scale was evaluated using Cronbach's alpha. Construct validity of the Australian scale was evaluated using exploratory factor analysis and principal component analysis. FINDINGS: Modifications to suit the Australian context were made to 8 of the 28 original items. This modified instrument was pilot-tested with 47 complete responses. Overall, the scale showed high internal consistency reliability. The subscale constructs 'Quality improvement', 'Accessibility-availability' and 'population orientation' showed low levels of internal consistency reliability. However, the mean inter-item correlation was 0.31, 0.26 and 0.31, respectively, which are in the recommended range of 0.15 to 0.50 and indicate that the items are correlated and are measuring the same construct. The Australian PHCE scale is recommended as a tool for the evaluation of health services. Further testing on a larger sample may provide clarity over some items which may be open to interpretation.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Public Health Commons