Presenting Data Integrity at the APNA conference

Presenting Data Integrity at the APNA conference

By: Jenni Cromie, Primary Care Nurse, MC Family Medical Centre

I was invited by Marie Carey at NSML to apply for an abstract presentation at the APNA Conference in Sydney. I had never done anything like this before, but have a passion for clean data and working it to its highest potential with the General Practice setting, so knew it was something I could share with others about.

What is data integrity? It means getting reminders out to the right patients when they are due. The audience started asking questions within five minutes of the presentation so I knew they were interested which was inspiring. Over the last 10 years, we have systematically used and culled the Best Practice (and prior to this Medical Director) reminders to exactly those we use. We inactivated all patients we had not seen for three years, so we spend our time and energy on current patients. We developed a check system to maintain this where, for an hour or so a month, we can send out reminders for diabetic slips due, vaccines scheduled and other doses, pap reminders, 4 yr old checks and over 75 assessments to be called in.

When we know what is due, we can follow up with patients in the waiting room when they come in for a followup for something else and complete anything that is also overdue. We know we are giving optimum care for our patients, the doctors are happier knowing we have a finger on the pulse at any given time, the financial benefits of having the Practice Incentive Payments made, and due billing for the doctors and nurses assessments.

The satisfaction of seeing our diabetics several times a year, regular checks, getting those vaccine courses completed, most pap letters responded to, was something I was able to passionately speak about because I know it works. Although it seems daunting at the start, cleaning up the database is like doing a spring clean - much easier to breathe!!

There were times the doctors wanted to do things their own way, but if I can support them in their days often doing the things they dont get time to do and they still get financially rewarded for it, who loses? I found that the questions asked afterwards led me to believe it is a huge hole waiting to be filled. Sure, we will always have dressings, infant vaccines and careplans to do, but to keep up with everyone on an annual basis really helps me keep in touch with the patients and it is an incredibly rewarding part of my job.