Using MedicineInsight data

MedicineInsight collects and uses data on the prescribing behaviour of general practitioners in Australia.

About MedicineInsight

The Australian Government Department of Health funded NPS MedicineWise in 2011 to establish and manage a longitudinal general practice data platform to improve the post-marketing surveillance of medicine use in Australia and support quality improvement activities in general practices. 

MedicineInsight is the first large-scale, national primary care data program in Australia that extracts longitudinal patient information from the clinical software used in general practice. 

MedicineInsight achieves better healthcare for all Australians by:

  • supporting quality improvement in participating general practices
  • supporting the safe use of new medicines
  • informing future policy and primary care research
  • supporting a sustainable Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS).

General  Practice  Insights  Report

General Practice Insights Report 2017-18

Date published : 24 October 2019

General Practice Insights Report 2016–17

Date published : 17 December 2018

Accessibility: these reports are currently not 'AA' accessible. If you need help to access the report, please contact us on: +61 2 8217 8700.

The General Practice Insights Report 2017-18 analyses the de-identified data of 2.7 million patients to reveal the common chronic health conditions in general practice in 2017–18 and the clinical management the patients received.

The report, commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health, shows that hypertension, depression, anxiety, asthma and arthritis are common chronic conditions patients present with to GPs.

From this report, we also know the common medicines prescribed in Australia in 2017–18 were those used to treat cardiovascular and nervous system disorders. Opioids account for 10 per cent of all original prescriptions. Common pathology tests included full blood counts, liver function tests and tests for cholesterol.

The General Practice Insights Report 2016–17 was the first time clinical data collected from participating MedicineInsight practices were used to provide insights into general practice at a national level.

These working papers demonstrate how clinical data from participating practices can help inform policy, research and health systems to improve health outcomes for all Australians. 

The reports include key findings including the most frequent reasons recorded as to why patients go to a doctor, chronic conditions with which patients present to GPs, and the most frequently prescribed medicines and medical tests.


MedicineInsight data

De-identified data is extracted from the clinical information systems that participating general practices use to manage patient records and write prescriptions. Data include information entered directly by GPs and practice staff as well as system-generated data such as the time and date that records are accessed.

A whole-of-practice retrospective data collection is conducted when a practice joins MedicineInsight. Subsequent extractions take incremental data, enabling the development of a longitudinal database in which de-identified patients within practices can be tracked over time.

Publication: Doreen Busingye, Christopher Gianacas, Allan Pollack, Kendal Chidwick, Alistair Merrifield, Sarah Norman, Bernie Mullin, Rachel Hayhurst, Suzanne Blogg, Alys Havard, Nigel Stocks, Data Resource Profile: MedicineInsight, an Australian national primary health care database, International Journal of Epidemiology


Can I use MedicineInsight data?

Third parties may express an interest in the information collected through MedicineInsight. The provision of information in these instances undergoes a rigorous and formal approval process, and is guided by the MedicineInsight independent external Data Governance Committee. This Committee includes GPs, consumer advocates, privacy experts and researchers.

Third-party use of MedicineInsight information must be aligned with our overall mission and be for public good. Information shared with third parties is done in a secure manner and will never identify an individual practice, GP, practice staff member or patient.

See Privacy, security and governance.

2020 Data Governance Committee - meeting dates and deadlines

Final data access application deadline (3 weeks) Data Governance Committee meeting dates
Thu, 23 January 2020 Thu, 13 February 2020
Wed, 18 March 2020 Wed, 08 April 2020
Wed, 20 May 2020 Wed, 10 June 2020
Wed, 22 July 2020 Wed, 12 August 2020
Wed, 16 September 2020 Wed, 07 October 2020
Wed, 18 November 2020 Wed, 09 December 2020

The MedicineInsight Databook

Use the MedicineInsight Databook to help determine if the data available in MedicineInsight are suitable for your research project.

MedicineInsight Databook

Date published : 1 June 2020


How do I apply to use MedicineInsight data?

For information about applying for access to MedicineInsight data:


Example uses of MedicineInsight data

MedicineInsight data is being used for a range of activities, some of which include:

  • post-marketing surveillance of drugs prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and asthma, as well as antidepressants, anticoagulants, testosterone and antibiotics
  • informing medicines policy, including a review of biological medicines used in general practice, monitoring the impact of changes to PBS restrictions for testosterone, and reviewing the use of antibiotics commonly used for respiratory tract infections
  • supporting quality improvement in general practice by comparing practice activity with best practice guidelines, in clinical areas such as diabetes, stroke, COPD, depression and antibiotic use. This allows practice staff to reflect on current practice, identify areas for improvement and see where changes can be implemented
  • primary care research, including evaluation of vaccination coverage, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, pain, obesity and lung cancer.

See a list of approved projects using MedicineInsight data