Introduction: Indigenous primary health care (PHC) services have been addressing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for some time now. In addition to treating and managing the health of Indigenous peoples, these services often incorporate strength-based approaches to the delivery of care, such as focusing on a holistic definition of health and an acknowledgement of the importance of upholding people’s connectedness with families, communities, Country, culture and spirituality. The objective of the research was to identify the characteristics, value and principles that underpin Indigenous PHC service delivery models.
Methods: We conducted a scoping review of the international literature. Databases were searched for peer-reviewed and grey literature. Four reviewers were involved in the appraising of studies and charting of data. A unique feature of the methods employed was the use of QSR International’s NVivo 10 software to thematically analyse the extracted findings, and identify characteristics of Indigenous PHC services delivery models.
Results: The scoping review identified eight characteristics of Indigenous PHC service delivery models: accessible health services, community participation, continuous quality improvement, culturally appropriate and skilled workforce, culture, flexible approach to care, holistic health care, and self-determination and empowerment. In addition, the review identified that culture underpinned all aspects of Indigenous PHC service delivery models.
Conclusion: Findings from the review will inform the development of a best practice service delivery framework intended to support Aboriginal PHC services to not only evaluate but also advocate for the unique services they provide.