Assessing and improving the quality of information for health evaluation and promotion

Methods Inf Med. 2000 Aug;39(3):208-12.


Studies by the author based upon a sample of over 1.1 million patients in the North West of England have shown that the introduction of computers cannot be demonstrated to produce significant improvements in health promotion activity. Other studies have revealed error rates in healthcare information systems in excess of 50%. This paper considers the reasons for these findings and demonstrate that there is a level of maturity of information management required before information systems can make a significant contribution to health promotion and evaluation. With the advent of locality commissioning and a re-affirmation of the emphasis upon health promotion activity set out in Health of the Nation and Our Healthier Nation [8], the role of information management has become even more significant. The paper presents a maturity model developed by the author, known as General Practice Information Maturity Model (GPIMM) that provides a strategic framework to improve the use of information by practices and to improve practice to enable viable sharing of accurate information. The paper will show the model can be used as a basis for the development of training and information strategies. The model identifies computerised practices as being in one of five stages of maturity: (1) Computerised, (2) Computerised PHC Team, (3) Coded, (4) Bespoke, (5) Paperless. The model specifically leads practices to a point in their development where they are able to carry out health evaluation, promotion and audit activities as a routine activity. Once these activities form part of practice activity they are then extended to encompass a group of practices such as a Primary Care Group. Finally, a case study is presented to show how the model was used to enable two very different but geographically neighbouring practices to work together towards the establishment of a common dataset. This dataset will be used to enable health promotion and evaluation activity to be provided for a total population of over 20,000 patients.

MeSH terms

  • England
  • Health Promotion / standards*
  • Health Services Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Information Management / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires