A computer-based medical information system (COSTAR) has been used to support a quality assurance program where the data collection is an integral part of the patient care recording activity and, therefore, does not require a separate abstracting or encoding process. This program utilizes concurrent audit to detect deficiencies in patient care, and automatic rapid feedback to the responsible provider in time to allow the provider to correct the deficiency. This system has been demonstrated to improve follow-up of throat cultures, positive for Group A Beta hemolytic streptococcus. It is well accepted by the medical staff whose practice is being audited. Because the data are collected as part of the routine operation of COSTAR, the computer monitoring and feedback have only a small incremental cost.
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