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GPRD Database Description Background

The UK General Practice Research Database (GPRD) was started up in 1987 as the VAMP Research Data Bank.

GPRD contains longitudinal data from the electronic medical records of patients from a large sample of general practices within the UK.

The administration of the GPRD has undergone several changes since it was initiated by VAMP. In 1993, VAMP was acquired by Reuters Health Information, which in turn donated the research database to the UK Department of Health in 1994, with the stipulation that the database be used for research, on a non-profit basis.

From 1994 until 1999 the database was operated by the Office for National Statistics.

In April 1999, Management of the GPRD was transferred to the UK Medicines Control Agency, and in April 2003 this agency became part of the newly created Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency.

The Epidemiology Pharmacology Information Core (EPIC), which grew out of VAMP, was previously a vendor of the GPRD. Penn’s version of the GPRD was licensed through EPIC.

Vision -- a Windows-based software system created by Reuters for managing patient information -- was introduced in 1995 and became the dominant data entry system used by GPs in the GPRD.

GPs use their software to create electronic medical records and for the purpose of managing their patients.

VAMP identified practices meeting specified data entry quality criteria and coded them as “up to standard” The first “up to standard date” was assigned to a practice in 1987, but most practices did not become up to standard until 1990 - 1991.

Data quality assurance was performed by VAMP until 1994 when the database was donated to the UK Department of Health.

The UK office of National Statistics was responsible for quality assurance from 1995 - 1999, followed by the Medicines Control Agency.

GPs receive nominal financial inducements for their participation in this program, and many participate because they believe they are providing a valuable research service and because the computerized system improved their practice.

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