Research Article

Information systems for general practitioners for quality assessment: II. Information preferences of the doctors.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 291 doi: (Published 30 November 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:1544
  1. R C Fraser,
  2. J T Gosling


    In this part of the study we intended to determine (a) the extent to which currently supplied information was used by general practitioners to assess their performance and (b) the preferences of the doctors for new information. Four aspects of professional activity were investigated: prescribing, practice activity as shown by family practitioner committee quarterly returns, hospital use, and audit in depth. The results are from 508(76%) questionnaires returned from the 669 general practitioners circulated in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. The prescribing habits of most doctors are influenced both by factual information about drugs from many sources and by feedback on their personal prescribing or that of their practice, which is supplied by the Prescription Pricing Authority, particularly regarding prescribing costs. Little use is made of data from the family practitioner committee. A distinct pattern of preferences for particular items of information emerged. Most doctors wished to receive information that would enable them to compare their personal performance or that of their practice with their local colleagues from the Prescription Pricing Authority (66%), the family practitioner committee (58%), and hospital sources (57%). Because doctors chose particular items of information that they would like to have, systems that are developed to provide such information are likely to be used. The need to incorporate comparison with peers is particularly important.