Data and systems

Data driven quality improvement is integral to achieving the best patient outcomes.


Data driven quality improvement is best achieved through establishing your practice software systems to manage preventive care activities and cancer screening participation. 

This is integral to achieve best patient outcomes, particularly for those at higher risk or have poor participation in national screening programs.

Key resources in this section



Dr Carolyn Ee discusses the importance of data and systems in cancer control

Data audit tools extract and analyse practice-level data that enables data driven quality improvement, which is integral to achieve best patient outcomes.

In the context of cancer screening, data audit tools can help you to:

  • Track cancer screening participation rates
  • Identify patients who have screened and who are overdue for screening
  • Share de-identified cancer screening data with your primary health network (PHN), who may use this data to provide you with a benchmark of your performance against other practices in your area, or assist you to set baseline for QI activities.

In the context of smoking cessation, clinical audit tools can help you to:

  • Track patients who have missing smoking status and smoking history recorded
  • Identify focus populations who smoke e.g. Aboriginal people, pregnant women, or people with high-risk comorbidity (eg. COPD) 
  • Share de-identified data with your PHN, who may use this data to provide you with a dashboard reports, which can assist in quality improvement activities and tracking preventative activities within your practice

Data audit tools include PEN CS’s ‘CAT 4’ and Outcome Health’s ‘POLAR’ products. Your PHN will have a data audit tool they can make available at no cost. They should be your first point of contact for advice and training. 

The term practice software refers to the client information system used by your practice to manage patient records.

  • Some practices use data audit tools to aggregate patient data in order to produce lists of patients who are due (or overdue) for screening.
  • Other practices may use functions within their practice software or additional software available from their software provider (that integrates with their practice software) to perform these functions.


More information
  TIP: Check if you are systematically performing basic clean-up functions

Assess if your practice is systematically deactivating patients, deceasing patients, checking for missing dates of birth or gender, and merging duplicate patient files. Follow up with your service provider if you need assistance with cleaning up your cancer screening data. 

Recalls and reminders are a crucial element of running an effective practice and are often the basis of providing effective preventive care.

Refer to each individual section of the toolkit below, which will highlight how recalls and reminders can be utilised in cancer screening and preventive activities.  

Access the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) via the Healthcare Provider Portal – Cervical and Bowel Screening

There are three options to contacting the NCSR:

1. The Healthcare Provider Portal 

The Healthcare Provider Portal  allows healthcare providers to communicate with the National Register to:

  • Access your patient’s bowel and cervical screening results and histories online, in real-time
  • Prepare for patient appointments by accessing results and histories online, prior to appointments
  • Submit forms/reports electronically
  • Update information regarding your patient’s participation.

Key points 

2. Integration with practice software: 

View more information on NCSR integration at the below links: 

3. NCSR Contact Centre 

You can continue to call the Contact Centre on 1800 627 701 to communicate with the National Register or manage your participant’s details. (Hours of Operation: 8am to 6pm) Fax: Cervical Screening: 1800 627 702 Bowel Screening: 1800 115 062



GP practices can access support from an NCSR specialist. Book your walk-through with an NCSR specialist using this link. Please do not delay, the NCSR are there to help.