IT firms agree deal to extract GP practice performance data

A tool set up to mine data from GP practice IT systems moved closer to implementation this week as major companies signed a deal with the NHS Information Centre.

Dr Richard Vautrey:essential GPES is robust enough to support QOF

The General Practice Extraction System (GPES) will replace the existing system that collects QOF data from GP practices, the Quality Management and Analysis System (QMAS).

It will aggregate a huge range of data from primary care to support the work of the NHS Commissioning Board and inform the Commissioning Outcomes Framework that will be used to judge commissioners’ performance.

An NHS Information Centre statement said: ‘Its launch means that, for the first time ever, it will be possible for the NHS to harness the full potential that primary care data offers for reducing inequalities, tackling inefficiencies and delivering best-quality local care.’

GPES will go live in September 2012, and support extraction of QOF data from April 2013.

The NHS Information Centre this week signed a deal with EMIS, the company that supplies IT systems used by around 60% of GPs in the UK.

The company will now work to develop software to ‘safely extract and communicate data’ to the information centre from practices. The NHS Information Centre said it expected to sign similar deals with other GP practice IT systems suppliers by January.

A deal has also been agreed with IT company Atos to develop the software that will produce the queries required to extract data from all practices.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chairman, said: 'We have been working closely with the Information Centre on this for a number of years. We have been reassured by the processes being put in place and it is a concern that the changes to information handling proposed in the Health Bill don't match these standards.

'The intention is that GPES could replace QMAS when that contract expires, so it is essential that GPES is robust enough to support QOF.'

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