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Open Access Research article

A structured registration program can be validly used for quality assessment in general practice

Andrea S Fokkens*, P Auke Wiegersma and Sijmen A Reijneveld

Author Affiliations

Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:241  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-241

Published: 21 December 2009



Patient information, medical history, clinical outcomes and demographic information, can be registered in different ways in registration programs. For evaluation of diabetes care, data can easily be extracted from a structured registration program (SRP). The usability of data from this source depends on the agreement of this data with that of the usual data registration in the electronic medical record (EMR).

Aim of the study was to determine the comparability of data from an EMR and from an SRP, to determine whether the use of SRP data for quality assessment is justified in general practice.


We obtained 196 records of diabetes mellitus patients in a sample of general practices in the Netherlands. We compared the agreement between the two programs in terms of laboratory and non-laboratory parameters. Agreement was determined by defining accordance between the programs in absent and present registrations, accordance between values of registrations, and whether the differences found in values were also a clinically relevant difference.


No differences were found in the occurrence of registration (absent/present) in the SRP and EMR for all the laboratory parameters. Smoking behaviour, weight and eye examination were registered significantly more often in the SRP than in the EMR. In the EMR, blood pressure was registered significantly more often than in the SRP. Data registered in the EMR and in the SRP had a similar clinical meaning for all parameters (laboratory and non-laboratory).


Laboratory parameters showed good agreement and non-laboratory acceptable agreement of the SRP with the EMR. Data from a structured registration program can be used validly for research purposes and quality assessment in general practice.