Medical Record Data Research
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The Consultations in Primary Care Archive (CiPCA) is a database of anonymised medical record data from a subset of general practices in North Staffordshire, UK.
These practices have a research agreement with Keele University (Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences) and code clinical activity to a high standard having followed Keele consultation data audit, training and validation programme.1
The quality of the data is comparable to, or better than, that of larger national general practice databases,2 and has produced comparable prevalences for musculoskeletal conditions as international databases.3
These practices’ routinely recorded data continues to be regularly audited by the CiPCA data manager within the Institute. Subject to ethical approval, anonymised medical record data from these practices will continue to be downloaded on a regular basis. Data is currently held from the year 2000 onwards. The database contains a range of primary care medical record data (consultations, prescriptions, investigations, referrals), and patients can be identified and tracked over time through a unique pseudo-anonymised ID number.
A range of research projects and publications have used CiPCA. Please explore the Publications section for further details.
- Porcheret M, Hughes R, Evans D, Jordan K, Whitehurst T, Ogden H, Croft P on behalf of the North Staffordshire General Practice Research Network. Data quality of general practice electronic health records: the impact of a program of assessments, feedback and training. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2004;11:78-86.
- Jordan K, Clarke AM, Symmons DPM, Fleming D, Porcheret M, Kadam UT, Croft P. Measuring disease prevalence: a comparison of musculoskeletal disease using four general practice consultation databases. British Journal of General Practice, 2007;57:7-14.
- Jordan KP, Jöud A, Bergknut C, Croft P, Edwards JJ, Peat G, Petersson IF, Turkiewicz A, Wilkie R, Englund M. International comparisons of the prevalence of health care for musculoskeletal disorders using population-based health care data from England and Sweden, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2014;73:1:212-218.
Summary of databases
CiPCA contains all routinely recorded morbidity data from consultations occurring at the participating practices. Information includes the event date, the Read Code and Read Term issued for the problem(s) addressed during the consultation, and the location (e.g. surgery, home visit).
The database also includes prescription data including date of prescription, BNF code, drug item, dose, quantity, course duration, number of issues and when last dispensed. However, please note that the reason for the issue of the prescription (i.e. the morbidity Read Code) is not directly linked to specific problems or events and it is necessary to cross-refer by matching consultation date to date of prescription in order to attempt to identify the reason for the prescription.
Referrals are also included in the database with Information including hospital department or specialists referred to, and date of referral. Like the prescriptions, the reason for referral is not always directly linked to a specific problem and cross-matching by approximate date to consultations will be necessary to try and identify the reason for referral
As well as the total registered practice population at points throughout the year, details are held on registration status of patients at these time points. Also available are deprivation scores (Index of Multiple Deprivation) for each patient. Please ask James Bailey or Kelvin Jordan for details.
Quality of CiPCA data is high thanks to the cycle of training, assessment and feedback undertaken by the Informatics team  and the quality of the data appears comparable to, or better than, that of larger national general practice databases.  However, please be aware that it does suffer from the general problems associated with all consultation databases (e.g. under-recording of multiple problems presented at one contact).[3,4]