New tool will help GPs monitor flu rates

04 Jan 2011

As the winter flu outbreak continues to rise, GPs now have a new resource to call on – a web portal that allows them to compare their own flu rates and vaccination uptake with national levels.

As the winter flu outbreak continues to rise, GPs now have a new resource to call on – a web portal that allows them to compare their own flu rates and vaccination uptake with national levels.

The QFeedback Portal is a free tool just launched by the QSurveillance® primary care tracking database.  It will be rolled out over the coming months to the 3,400 GPs using EMIS systems who contribute anonymous patient data to the monitoring service.

The portal allows participating practices to log in and view their own data on flu and other diseases such as cancer and heart disease, as well as vaccinations, and compare it with anonymised practices in their local area and across the UK.

It also allows comparisons with practices with a similar population. Data can be visualised as graphs, maps or tables.

Dr Arun Aggarwal is a GP at the Rainbow Surgery near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire – one of the first 100 practices to trial the QFeedback service.  He said: “This is a brilliant resource.  I found it very quick and easy to use and the results have been very thought-provoking for our practice.

“As well as giving us an insight into our own incidence of seasonal problems such as flu, it will also enable us to compare how we are doing on longer-term issues such as heart disease, and concentrate our resources where they are most needed.”

QFeedback is a new development from the QSurveillance project, which has arisen from QResearch, a not-for-profit partnership between leading GP systems supplier EMIS and the University of Nottingham.

Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General Practice at Nottingham University and co-founder of QSurveillance, said: “QFeedback is a powerful tool that will allow practices to see how they measure up against others with a similar demographic, and also nationally.

“It will be of enormous value in gauging levels of infectious diseases such as flu very quickly to allow local health services to respond speedily and ensure patients get the best possible care.”

Sean Riddell, Chief Executive of EMIS, said: “We are very grateful to the EMIS practices that contribute data to QSurveillance, and pleased that we are now able to give them something in return to help them to better plan their services to patients.

“I hope the addition of this new tool will encourage more practices to contribute to the database.”

QSurveillance automatically collects anonymous patient data from GP surgeries across the UK on a daily basis, providing a real-time picture of the prevalence of diseases and vaccination uptake.