Gathering data for decisions: best practice use of primary care electronic records for research

In Australia, there is limited use of primary health care data for research and for data linkage between health care settings. This article outines the international and Australian context in using primary care data for research. The authors propose a model for using primary care health data in research. The proposed model includes six key elements – preparing for data collection, recruiting a general practice, de-identifying and transmitting data, following due process, delivering research outputs and using consumer, clinician and researcher panels. Overall, this paper highlights that access to quality EMR data, lack of resources to remunerate GPs, and a lack of understanding among some GPs are barriers to data sharing.

 

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