Why SPIRE is needed

General Practice records support GPs and practice staff to provide patients with the care they need, but are also the closest thing that we have to a comprehensive record of a patient’s health and the treatment they receive throughout their life. As such, GP records are an extremely valuable source of information providing the potential for NHSScotland to learn more about the health needs of the population and best to meet those needs.

In addition, selected electronic data from these records are also shared with other parts of the NHS when required, to support patients’ care and treatment. For example, the Emergency Care Summary contains essential information about a patient that can be used by health professionals to treat patients in need of urgent medical care, such as within an Accident & Emergency Department.

Locally, General Practices can extract and report on data from their clinical IT systems to help them run their services. Information has also been extracted up to 2015/16 from practices through the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), in order for practices to be paid for some of the services they provide to patients.

GP data, when collated from a number of practices, can be better used to understand the health needs of the population and to plan and manage the health and social care services they require. If data can be extracted from many practices throughout Scotland, the information can be used to help shape national policies in relation to health and social care. It can also be used to support research into the health of the population or the effectiveness of current or new forms of care and treatment.

Currently, wider use of GP data does occur, but there is no standard approach or system for data extraction and reporting.

SPIRE seeks to address these issues by providing a service that will provide a safe, secure and adaptable system to extract and report on the data held in GP systems.