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Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) and Supplementary Analysis of Nominated Data (SAND)

Identifying and definitional attributes

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The BEACH program, which began in April 1998, is a continuous national cross-sectional study of general practitioner (GP) activity in Australia. Each year, approximately 1,250 active GPs are recruited from a random sample drawn by the Australian Government Department of Health, with approximately 1,000 GPs participating in the study. Each participating GP records details of 100 consecutive encounters with consenting patients on paper recording forms. These encounters are termed GP consultations in the report. These forms collect information on patient characteristics, encounter details, the health problems managed at the encounter (GP management occasion) and the clinical actions undertaken (actively managed) by the GP to manage these problems. The types of clinical actions recorded include: medications prescribed/supplied or advised for over-thecounter purchase; clinical treatments; procedural treatments; imaging and pathology tests ordered; and referrals provided.

In addition to the BEACH encounter data collected, the BEACH program simultaneously conducts substudies to collect information about aspects of patients’ health or health care provided to patients on specific topics that are not covered in the encounter data. These patient substudies are referred to as SAND (Supplementary Analysis of Nominated Data). For more information about the SAND substudies see General practice activity in Australia 2012–13.1 A series of BEACH SAND substudies used in the report examined the prevalence of chronic conditions in Australian general practice patients.

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