Sitting on a pot of gold in general practice

26th November 2018, Dr Chee L Khoo

We sit on a large repository of data in general practice. A small subset of the data that can be useful is the individual patient data that can facilitate patient care. This subset (in the right set up) is what the myhealthrecord is hoping to host in the cloud but that is another story for another day.

More valuable is the aggregated data within the practice dataset which we have yet to harness for a greater good. I have always thought that I am a very comprehensive GP. But then so must most other GPs. We all think we are pretty good. Are we? How can we tell? If only we can compare with a gold standard somewhere. What if we are able to pool all the data from like-minded and similar practices in our geographical area together and perform some benchmarking comparison? Perhaps, we could learn from each other as to how other practices are achieving that which we are not achieving. It would be much more useful than the “quality improvement” activities under the college’s CPD & QI program, wouldn’t it?

If we can harness the practice data, we could also perform analytics on “strengths” and “weaknesses” of the practice for future strategic planning purposes. Further, there already exists software out there that can interpret and query the data looking for “outliers” – result anomalies like decreasing iron levels in patients in anti-platelet therapy, DPP4 inhibitors or metformin with severe renal impairment or new onset diabetes in someone with existing AF. We would like some “decision support” tools just to prompt us in a systematic way. Not those irritating prompts from your prescribing software that are generally not relevant to the task at hand.

In Australia, we are way behind in this arena. Part of the problem relates to the trust (or lack of) issue. Who is doing this? Is there a commercial angle to this effort? Who is the custodian of the data? Have they done this before? Have we got results for the effort yet?

Dr Julian Brown is Managing Director, Prescribing Services Ltd, UK, Senior General Practitioner Litcham Health Centre, UK. Julian established and manages Prescribing Services Ltd which provides e-Health and health analytics to the health sector across the UK in order to improve patient care and reduce hospital admission rates. Prescribing Services Ltd currently supports the care by >4000 practices for >12 million patients across the UK.

He is at Gemelle Restaurant, Liverpool on the 6th December to share his expertise with data analytics, benchmarking and decision support tools. Join us for  small group dinner meeting.

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