Comprehensive computerised primary care records are an essential component of any national health information strategy: Report from an international consensus conference
de Lusignan S., Teasdale S., Little D., Zapp J., Zuckerman A., Bates DW., Steele A.
In many countries, primary care informatics has developed to the point that it is recognised as an important enabler of quality improvement; this has not occurred to date in the United States. With this conference, we aimed to build an international consensus as to whether primary care has unique characteristics that require an informatics subspecialty; and, if so, to establish the role of primary care informatics in improving patient care, and to enable its recognition in the national strategy. The conference was organised by the primary care informatics working groups of AMIA, EFMI, IMIA and Wonca and took place at Medinfo 2004 in San Francisco. It consisted of two plenary lectures, two small-group work sessions and a panel discussion to summarise the day. It was attended by an international audience of 53 health informaticians, mostly working in primary care. There was consensus among the participants that primary care has many unique characteristics that justify the existence of an informatics subspecialty: primary care informatics (PCI). The conference identified principles and practical examples of: (1) the effective deployment of information technology to underpin the provision of records, communication and access to information; (2) the need to harness the extensive knowledge base about the practice of PCI; and (3) the contribution of the experimental work and theory that underpins the science of PCI. These principles and examples of their practical application were largely derived from the extensive knowledge base which has been built up in countries that have developed PCI over the last one to two decades. © 2004 PHCSG, British Computer Society.