December 4, 2020, by School of Medicine

50 at 50: PRIMIS – Transforming primary care data 

PRIMIS 20 Years LogoAlongside the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the School of Medicine, a small but important team within the School is celebrating a significant birthday itself in 2020. 

Over the past 20 years PRIMIS has become the leader in extracting knowledge and value from primary care data, helping to achieve better health outcomes across the UK. 

The PRIMIS team produces highly effective and practical solutions to help people access, understand and use patient data held on GP IT systems. We have achieved this through our unrivalled understanding of health informatics, our clinical expertise and our trusted and established products, services, consultancy and training and support. 

We have delivered NHS sponsored services to primary care organisations that have enabled skills development in the use of electronic health records and have led to the improved quality of data held in the patient records, including the development and implementation of data quality indicators used in 97% of general practices in England.   

We also author many of the data specifications that support national data collection activities, including the well-respected seasonal vaccination uptake survey on behalf of Public Health England and have been involved in the validation of the QOF indicators. 

Much of our work involves consultancy services, mostly advising on the availability and feasibility of data collection activities to both service commissioners and academics. 

Our early work focused on supporting general practitioners and their teams to engage with IT and embrace the use of electronic health records. The work involved identifying the barriers and facilitators to implementing quality electronic health records and helping clinicians to understand how IT could be used as part of their process of patient care, rather than a separate entity.   

Twenty years later and, following this early work on improved data quality and sufficiency, it is now possible for organisations like PRIMIS to produce tools that help practices develop a systematic approach to the identification, diagnosis and optimal management of patients with life-long conditions.   Many of our tools are used on a regular basis in general practice and have gained endorsement from national NHS organisations. 

PRIMIS is currently leading on the national rollout of PINCER; a pharmacist intervention involving searching GP clinical systems using computerised prescribing safety indicators to identify patients at risk from their medications and then acting to correct any problems with pharmacist support. Alongside our collaborators on the project, PRIMIS idelighted to have been shortlisted for Patient Safety Team of the Year at this year’s HSJ Patient Safety Awards, recognising our outstanding contribution to healthcare.  PRIMIS has come full circle – the national rollout of PINCER is reminder of our experience of implementing large scale, national projects, as well as our growing expertise in transforming the outputs of research into everyday practice. 

We are now a streamlined and highly experienced team. PRIMIS staff include those highly experienced in healthcare data analysis, development and programming; business leads; training development and delivery specialistsresearchers, GPs (practicing or recently retired), many with a background in general practice management and business support specialists.  

Ian Herbert from the British Computer Society’s Primary Healthcare Specialist Group, summed up PRIMIS: “Without PRIMIS, primary care computing would not be where it is.” 

See the SWAY about PRIMIS’ first 20 years. 

Read case studies from people who have worked closely with PRIMIS over the years. 

See the PRIMIS website to find out more about us 

Get in touch to see how our skills and expertise can help your project or research 

Posted in 50 Years of Medicineresearch