Adolescent health

March 2011


A division’s worth of data

Volume 40, No.3, March 2011 Pages 167-170

Christopher Pearce

Marianne Shearer

Karina Gardner

Jill Kelly

Throughout the international community there is an increasing focus on the benefits of collecting, pooling and analysing patient data. General practice provides a great opportunity to create a comprehensive database of the Australian population as 90% of Australians visit their general practitioner each year and general practices are increasingly computerised.

This article discusses the facilitatory role divisions of general practice can play in harnessing quality data from general practice and the benefits that may follow. It describes experience from 3 years of data pooling by the Melbourne East General Practice Network in Victoria and makes recommendations for other organisations interested in data collection.

There is growing international recognition that widespread adoption of electronic health records represents a useful resource1–4 and early work suggests that algorithmic processing of large amounts of data may be more effective than traditional scientific methods.5 General practice is widely perceived as an appropriate place for pooling data.6,7 In Australia this pooling could occur effectively through the divisions of general practice. This article is based on the data pooling experience of the Melbourne East General Practice Network (MEGPN) in Victoria.

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