An investigation of the accuracy of general practitioner and Executive Council files was approached by a comparison of the two. High error rates were found, including both file errors and record errors. On analysis it emerged that file error rates could not be satisfactorily expressed except in a time-dimensioned way, and we were unable to do this within the context of our study. Record error rates and field error rates were expressible as proportions of the number of records on both the lists; 79·2% of all records exhibited non-congruencies and particular information fields had error rates ranging from 0·8% (assignation of sex) to 68·6% (assignation of civil state). Many of the errors, both field errors and record errors, were attributable to delayed updating of mutable information.
It is concluded that the simple transfer of Executive Council lists to a computer filing system would not solve all the inaccuracies and would not in itself permit Executive Council registers to be used for any health care applications requiring high accuracy. For this it would be necessary to design and implement a purpose designed health care record system which would include, rather than depend upon, the general practitioner remuneration system.
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