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qi4gp (Quality Information for General Practice) is a ‘grass roots’ initiative with a vision to provide a new information environment which will make comprehensive patient information accessible to all practitioners.

It has the backing of the four major general practice organisations: Independent Practitioners Association Council, the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and the New Zealand Medical Association, and has been given seeding funding by the Ministry of Health.

An improved information environment would have lots of benefits for general practices and their patients. For example, it would be possible to quickly identify whether people have a condition excluding them from certain medicines. Shared assessment would be much easier, and patients would not have to repeat their story to a number of health professionals. Health records would be completely up to date at all times. In simple terms, the right information would be available to all clinical staff where and when it was needed.

The final form of the new information environment will be determined by the feedback received.

Some suggestions include:

  • the introduction of electronic patient records allowing information to be exchanged between providers
  • a health information network for general practice teams that includes information about available health services and how to access them, protocols and guidelines for general practice teams; as well as information for patients, including on clinical matters, self-management and how to access health services
  • an overview at practice and PHO levels of population health and practice activity
  • patient access to parts of their medical records

A discussion document, A Quality and Information Perspective for General Practice has been circulated, and feedback received from a number of stakeholder groups. The final report was due in late August 2007.

qi4gp wants to work with general practice to identify a vision for quality and information, and we need feedback on the best way to achieve that vision. What would your ideal information environment look like? What do you think of the qi4gp project’s aims? What do we need to know about the problems you face and how the project could help address them?

The more feedback we can get, the better we can plan an information environment that best meets all needs.

You can find out more about qi4gp at