Information in general medical practices: The information processing model

Sarah Crowe, Mary P. Tully, Judith A. Cantrill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: The need for effective communication and handling of secondary care information in general practices is paramount. Objective: To explore practice processes on receiving secondary care correspondence in a way that integrates the information needs and perceptions of practice staff both clinical and administrative. Methods: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with a wide range of practice staff (n = 36) in nine practices in the Northwest of England. Analysis was based on the framework approach using N-Vivo software and involved transcription, familiarization, coding, charting, mapping and interpretation. Results: The 'information processing model' was developed to describe the six stages involved in practice processing of secondary care information. These included the amendment or updating of practice records whilst simultaneously or separately actioning secondary care recommendations, using either a 'one-step' or 'two-step' approach, respectively. Many factors were found to influence each stage and impact on the continuum of patient care. Conclusion: The primary purpose of processing secondary care information is to support patient care; this study raises the profile of information flow and usage within practices as an issue requiring further consideration. © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)230-236
    Number of pages6
    JournalFamily practice
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2009


    • General practice
    • GP
    • Information
    • Primary care
    • Qualitative research


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