Scotland is building a national information service for GP data, due to go-live in a year.
Scottish GP and director of the Dundee Health e-Research Centre Frank Sullivan said the plan is to create a national service for GP data to replace the Primary Care Clinical Information Unit, which is being run down.
The PCCIU extracts data from about 30% of practices, but it is hoped that 100% will sign up to the new service.
“That was sufficient for what they wanted to do, but the national information service want to have every practice involved if possible,” said Sullivan.
Information Services Division Scotland will run the NIS, due to go live in about 12 months, and will go out to tender soon for an extraction service.
The unit will collect as much coded data as possible on areas such as diagnoses, prescribing and procedures. Sullivan said there is no appetite to collect information written in free text.
The data will be used primarily to manage the health service. Sullivan added that there is “no suggestion” of it being used to judge the quality of GP practices or being regularly published online, in contrast to plans for a new GP data-set in England.
It could also be linked with other types of data held in the Scottish Health Informatics Programme, soon to be superseded by HeRC.
Sullivan said many GPs had been involved in developing the new service.
“There’s been a lot of consultation about it and there’s still more to come, but hopefully whenever it starts to run we won’t get some of the difficulties England has had by trying to impose things on people who don’t know anything about it,” he explained.
Sullivan said the provider of the extraction service could be a public body such as the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which has already developed the General Practice Extraction Service for England, or a commercial company.
EMIS and INPS are Scotland’s GP system suppliers.
“Scotland intends to look at all the current and potential options for all of this and it may well mean adopting something that’s going to happen at a UK level anyway,” Sullivan said.