Intended for healthcare professionals

General Practice

Collecting data in general practice: need for standardisation

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 06 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:33
  1. D C Newrick, research associatea,
  2. J A Spencer, senior lecturera,
  3. K P Jones, senior lecturera
  1. a Department of Primary Health Care, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Newrick.
  • Accepted 28 September 1995

The variety of practice annual reports that have appeared since 19701 2 demonstrates that decisions about which data are best collected to assess the quality of patient care and for forward planning are usually left to individual practices to determine.

Subjects, methods, and results

To examine existing data collection and views about feedback we sent a postal questionnaire for self completion to all singlehanded practices, all fundholding practices, and all non-fundholding practices with over five partners, plus a one in three random sample of all other non-fundholding practices in the Northern region in September 1993 (n=211). The response rate was 79%.

Respondents spent substantial amounts of time entering data into computer systems or manual records each month (see table). In computerised practices, deciding on a standardised coding system and ensuring …

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