Pen CS Data Quality Expert

“There’s so much data around. But what data is useful and why is it important to use data to improve patient care?”

In July, AIHW published Australia’s health data 2020: data insights that explore current health data and selected health issues in Australia. This publication recognises data as key to achieving long-term and sustainable improvements in the Australian healthcare system as a whole

But why is having good quality health data important for GPs? What value does it bring to general practices? And what support is there currently for general practices to undertake data quality improvement practices?

So we have interviewed our data expert, Matthias, who has been with Pen CS since 2005. His role includes verifying whether our products meet the national clinical guidelines, ensuring that we are up to date with medications, conditions which we report on, and more.

Read Part 3 of the interview with data expert, Matthias Merzenich who is Pen CS Clinical Assurance Manager to learn more about:

  • Tips for ensuring data quality best practice
  • Examples of data quality best practice
  • Improved patient outcomes for data quality best practice.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview, you have outlined the importance of having good quality coded data in the practice. Do you have any practical tips to help implement this in practices, to strive towards data-driven improvement?

Pen CS provides several reports on missing data and the completeness of data for the practice. For example, Data Quality and Data Cleansing reports.

Practical tips for practices:

Additionally, these tips can help identify patients who may have a certain condition, but have not been coded in the system. For example, a practice has 200 patients with diabetes, properly coded. However, the Indicated Diabetes report may show another 100, suggesting an issue with the quality of coding.

Do you have any other examples or case studies?


During the influenza season you want to ensure that all people with respiratory conditions get their influenza vaccine. One way of doing so is recalling high-risk patients.

At your practice, if you have:

  1. All of your patients with COPD coded correctly,
  2. Cleaned up your chronic disease register, and
  3. Worked on your free text or tried to bulk clean up,

This means that:

  • Patient recall will be better targeted.
  • The right high-risk patients with a respiratory disease will be reached.
  • Further complications/bad outcomes may be avoided, in particular in regards to vaccinations.


There are regularly scheduled check-ups for patients with certain heart conditions or with diabetes.

However, if these conditions are not coded correctly or if you don’t record the actual check-up in a way that can be reported or extracted, then again you’re not working very efficiently.

Having these tools and good quality data supports a practice to run more efficiently and allows for more recall based on the needs of the patient.

Providing targeted care based on quality data is a proven way to improve patient health outcomes especially for people identified with chronic conditions.

What are the benefits to data cleansing for practices? 

  • Can be counted as a quality improvement activity part of PIP QI
  • Increases practice efficiency
  • Improves patient care

Example: Recalling Patients

Practices can recall patients eligible for Medicare items based on their chronic conditions. If the chronic condition isn’t recorded properly, your recall will not cover all the patients that should be recalling.

Having good quality data helps people at risk come to the clinic on time to get the routine care they need.

We welcome your ideas and questions. If you have any feedback or questions, please send them to