Background: We assessed how accurately a common general practitioner (GP) audit tool extracts data from two software systems.
Methods: First, pathology test codes were audited at 33 practices covering nine companies. Second, a manual audit of chronic disease data from 200 random patient records at two practices was compared with audit tool data.
Results: Pathology review: all companies assigned correct codes for cholesterol, creatinine and glycated haemoglobin; four companies assigned incorrect codes for albuminuria tests, precluding accurate detection with the audit tool. Case record review: there was strong agreement between the manual audit and the tool for all variables except chronic kidney disease diagnoses, which was due to a tool-related programming error.
Discussion: The audit tool accurately detected most chronic disease data in two GP record systems. The one exception, however, highlights the importance of surveillance systems to promptly identify errors. This will maximise potential for audit tools to improve healthcare quality.