[Detailed data collection regarding the utilization of medical services, morbidity, course of illness and outcomes by episode-based documentation in general practices within the CONTENT project]

Gesundheitswesen. 2007 May;69(5):284-91. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-976517.
[Article in German]


Billing data for individual patients from General Practice surgeries can be used to analyse primary care utilisation. Making these data available for research and controlling purposes of the German health care system is vital for health services research. Due to the predominant billing purposes, German routine data are unlikely to yield a realistic and differentiated picture of primary care. The General Practice morbidity research network CONTENT (CONTinuous morbidity registration Epidemiologic NeTwork) was established as part of the primary care research grant of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education. As opposed to other available German routine health care data, the project is designed around episodes of care as the ordering principle of primary care. An episode-based registration integrates the elements reason for encounter, result of the encounter and medical procedure across the quarterly billing timeframe. The use of the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) in the CONTENT project supports a specific adaptation to documentation in primary care. As opposed to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death (ICD), ICPC was especially developed for primary care purposes. An episode-based registration and an appropriate classification are prerequisites for a realistic and detailed picture of morbidity and services provided in primary care. An existing electronic medical record (EMR) was extended with domain-specific modules in order to meet the requirements of episode-based registration. The resulting database has already yielded analyses that were impossible to achieve from German routine health care data. Further analyses will subsequently be based on the continuously expanding database and have the potential to shed light on complex epidemiological and health economics research questions. First results point in the direction that the new mode of data collection, in contrast to routinely entered data, features the potential for a more detailed assessment concerning utilisation of medical services, morbidity, course of illness and outcomes in the context of primary care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Documentation / methods
  • Episode of Care*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Germany
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / organization & administration*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / statistics & numerical data
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Treatment Outcome