Evidence-based practice within clinical governance
PROFESS is an experimental project to determine the technical feasibility of collecting specific information from primary care practice systems, on a voluntary basis, for the purpose of providing a learning support system through an analysis service to subscribing practices. There is no compulsion to use the system, and the data is pseudonomised so that it is not possible to identify patients or clinicians. The primary purpose of the PROFESS system is to provide analysable information, for use by individual practices to reflect on their own practice information when compared, in an anonymised and secure way, with all participating practices. The analysis provision will help GPs to check, for example, data pertaining to their own patients in specific disease groups such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or diabetes. Another use for the system is as an adjunct to PRODIGY; although using PRODIGY does not automatically include the use of PROFESS. When used with PRODIGY, the system can provide information about the use of PRODIGY guidance, which could then be used to inform the future development of PRODIGY guidance in line with perceived patterns of use across all participating practices. The project is currently undergoing technical feasibility and is in the process of thorough evaluation. A government and professional ethics committee is also being set up to discuss and ensure the safeguarding of data use.