Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of a program of repeated assessments, feedback, and training on the quality of coded clinical data in general practice.
Design: A prospective uncontrolled intervention study was conducted in a general practice research network.
Measurements: Percentage of recorded consultations with a coded problem title and percentage of patients receiving a specific drug (e.g., tamoxifen) who had the relevant morbidity code (e.g., breast cancer) were calculated. Annual period prevalence of 12 selected morbidities was compared with parallel data derived from the fourth National Study of Morbidity Statistics from General Practice (MSGP4).
Results: The first two measures showed variation between practices at baseline, but on repeat assessments all practices improved or maintained their levels of coding. The period prevalence figures also were variable, but over time rates increased to levels comparable with, or above, MSGP4 rates. Practices were able to provide time and resources for feedback and training sessions.
Conclusion: A program of repeated assessments, feedback, and training appears to improve data quality in a range of practices. The program is likely to be generalizable to other practices but needs a trained support team to implement it that has implications for cost and resources.