Using data to expand knowledge

Data for Decisions focuses on the use of de-identified data from general practice medical records to expand knowledge and ultimately promote service and population health improvements. Every research project that accesses the data stored in the Patron primary care data repository does so only after meeting rigorous data governance and ethics requirements. Each project using Patron data is described below, and each research group will provide a reader-friendly summary of their findings, and list of resulting publications, when available.

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Projects approved to use Patron data

  • Defining the burden of antimicrobial prescribing in primary care attributable to sore throat
    • Principal Investigator: Professor Jodie McVernon - Doherty Institute
    • The aim is to measure the relative frequency of upper respiratory tract infections and sore throat presentations and frequency of GP antibiotic prescribing for these patients.
    • The bacterium Group A Streptococcus (GAS) commonly causes 'sore throat', particularly among children. The infection is treatable with antibiotics. Some GPs frequently prescribe antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections, but as many are caused by viruses, antibiotics are ineffective. Misuse and unnecessary prescription of antibiotics has contributed to a rise in bacterial resistance. Better understanding of GP antibiotic prescribing behaviour is needed.
    • This project will inform strategies to improve prescribing practices. The information gained could provide an estimate of costs likely to be saved by a potential GAS vaccine and provide evidence to support its development.
    • Ethics approval - The University of Melbourne
  • Meeting national targets and indicators to reduce mortality from chronic illness through general practice
    • Principal Investigator: Dr Kevin McNamara - Deakin University
    • The aim  is to develop and investigate the feasibility, sustainability and impact of a quality improvement initiative in primary care, in collaboration with patients and practitioners; and to determine its overall impact on cardiovascular health outcomes for key groups.
    • This study looks at changes to general practice performance for cardiovascular disease risk screening before, during, and after the implementation of a patient-centred quality improvement initiative in a large general practice.
    • The researchers will work with The University of Melbourne to develop data coding to support future studies and quality improvement initiatives that utilise Patron data.
    • Ethics approval - Deakin University
  • GP-NAPS: The feasibility of passive audit of antibiotic prescribing in general practice
    • Principal Investigator: Dr Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis - The University of Melbourne
    • GPs provide nearly 9 out of 10 prescriptions for antibiotics. A high rate of this antibiotic prescribing does not comply with Therapeutic Guidelines. This means that many antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate, which is a problem given the global increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.
    • This project is determining the feasibility of a passive GP National Antibiotic Prescribing Survey (NAPS) rather than using onsite auditing of patient files. This would form a key component of a quality improvement activity to optimize appropriate antibiotic prescribing in general practice.
    • Ethics approval - The University of Melbourne
  • Future Health Today: Detecting people at risk of chronic kidney disease
    • Principal Investigator: Dr Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis - The University of Melbourne and Western Health
    • Part of the Future Health Today program of work. Stage 1 uses general practice data from Patron to develop and validate algorithms that will contribute to improving detection and management of people with, or at risk of, chronic kidney disease (CKD). The algorithms will underpin the Future health Today tool which will be made available in general practice when ready.
    • Stage 2 has practitioners from Data for Decisions partnering practices and consumers helping to co-designing the tool.
    • Stage 3 will pilot and evaluate the Chronic Kidney Disease detection and management tool, first in two Data for Decisions partner practices, expanding to ten practices.
    • Stage 4, if approved, will use Patron data to create benchmarking reports so that participating practices can compare their progress in CKD detection and management to other (deidentified) practices.
    • Ethics approval - The University of Melbourne