A prospective randomised control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a nurse led model of care in general practice1 required researchers to remotely access 285 individual electronic medical records (EMRs) from three general practices. In this article the term ‘EMR’, is defined as an electronic record of patient information maintained in one practice.2
With an estimated 80% of Australians
visiting a general practitioner at least
once a year, the data generated by
GPs is a rich source of the overall health
profile of patients. However, this data is
rarely used to report on health outcomes.
This article reports on the use of remote
access of electronic medical records
(EMRs) for the purpose of collecting data
during a collaborative research project
involving the staff of three general
practices and an external research team.
Throughout the project numerous
benefits to remotely accessing general
practice EMRs were identified. However,
there remain some difficulties which
need to be addressed. An increased
functionality of the software programs
used in general practice is required,
along with improvements in the utilisation
of the software capabilities. Collaboration
between clinicians, researchers and
clinical software developers will be vital to
advance this process.
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