Have the completeness and accuracy of computer medical records in general practice improved in the last five years? the report of a two-practice pilot study
Thiru K., de Lusignan S., Hague N.
Through its involvement in primary care groups (PCGs) general practice is destined to play a major role in the commissioning of UK National Health Service (NHS) services. If this objective is to be achieved then data will be required at PCG level from electronic patient records (EPRs). The aim of this study was to examine the completeness and accuracy of GP computer records over the last five years in two computerized practices. The objectives were: to establish whether data recording has improved; to discover whether cross-platform data extraction using MIQUEST (Morbidity Information Query Export Syntax) has advantages over the different in-system search tools provided in the EMIS and Meditel systems in our pilot practices; and to suggest how the potential of GP databases to be sources of valid data might be realized. we have demonstrated that high standards of data quality can be achieved in general practice and that there are benefits in using the cross-platform data extraction tool MIQUEST. While being vigilant of coding practices that may introduce systematic errors, data extractors should focus on data validation. We surmise that there are both human and technical barriers to achieving high quality data recording that need further research.