Using data to improve your practice

A general practice uses their data to contact patients eligible for the free shingles vaccine

Please refer to the disclaimer before reading the case studies.


Below is an example of how we used our practice computer system to improve our patient care while also improving our income.
With the Australian Government program to fund the shingles vaccine for all patients aged 70-79 years, our nurses have used our database to target these patients with telephone calls advising them this is available and arranged appointments for this at the same time, if they are willing.

With dedicated work, since the inception of the program in November 2016, we have reached all our patients in this age group who have not had shingles in the past year and are not on an immunosuppressant (these are contraindications) and offered them the vaccination. Our nurses performed a simple search in our practice software. With more sophisticated searches, we plan to use an extraction tool to extract data.

We started with those patients who were aged 79 years and about to turn 80 (and who then would no longer qualify under this program) and worked backwards to age 70 years. We have called everyone in this cohort and have successfully vaccinated over 70% of them, which we are informed is more than double the average for other practices Australia-wide.
Having accurate data has made things much easier. Calling these people also gave us an opportunity to tidy up our database by removing (inactivating) those patients who no longer attend. Fortunately, because we pay strict attention to inactivating deceased patients when we learn of their passing, we did not have any embarrassing calls asking if dead people wanted a vaccination!

Dr Rob Hosking, Bacchus Marsh GP (adapted from his blog entry, posted on 21 November 2017).


The information set out in this publication is current at the date of first publication and is intended for use as a guide of a general nature only and may or may not be relevant to particular patients or circumstances. Nor is this publication exhaustive of the subject matter. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances when so doing. Compliance with any recommendations cannot of itself guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional and the premises from which the health professional operates.

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