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Page content updated 30/04/2019
Our WorkPrimary Sense

Primary Sense


Building one world class health system for the Gold Coast 

How we're improving the quality of your care

General practices are busy and it’s not always easy to predict which patients are most likely to become unwell. However, new technology is now helping our practice to identify our patients most at risk of poor health or disease.

We are using data extracted by the Primary Sense™ computer tool, to notify your GP when:  
  • you would benefit from a health check to keep you healthy
  • treatments could be provided to reduce your risk of becoming sick
  • new results show you have an increased risk of becoming unwell.
To analyse this information, we share your de-identified health data, with local primary healthcare organisation, Gold Coast Primary Health Network (GCPHN). 
GCPHN is government-funded to provide general practices with resources and support to deliver quality healthcare to patients. 

No identifiable information such as your name, date of birth or address is shared with GCPHN.

An example of how this works: 

John thinks he is in reasonably good health and doesn’t visit his GP often. Primary Sense™ pulls together recent and older test results and calculates that John could actually be at risk of heart disease. Knowing this, John’s GP invites him for a health check and plans with John how to reduce his risk factors.

Only data to help keep you well is shared with GCPHN and any information your GP has marked as confidential is not shared. 

GCPHN also uses the information for planning, research and evaluation to improve the health care services available on the Gold Coast.

How you can help your GP

Patients often go to more than one general practice to see a GP.            
This means that the current GP that you are seeing, may not have your full medical history, which can make managing your care difficult. 

If you see more than one GP at different practices, it is important to notify all of them when you have:
  • a blood test or xray
  • a change in medicines or a new medicine is ordered
  • a new illness or problem
If you do not wish to share your information, please let reception at your practice know.

Gold Coast Primary Health Network provides support to General Practice, the cornerstone of healthcare, to deliver better care for you.

Information Management Lifecycle Phase - Primary Sense™

Gold Coast PHN collects, uses and stores information in line with Australian Privacy laws. 
The purpose of the Primary Sense™ data collection is to support the reports and alerts generated by the Primary Sense ™ data extraction and Population Health Management Clinical Audit Tool. General Practices require an executed Practice Level Agreement to access a license to use Primary Sense ™ and for GCPHN to extract general practice data 


  • Primary Sense™ Extractor accesses personal information on collection for the purpose of generating a unique code but does not extract that personal information from the practice.
  • Only the minimum data set required to inform the creation of reports and alerts available via Primary Sense™  Desktop is collected.
  • Data from patients that have not been inactivated/deceased are extracted.
  • A patient ID only is extracted for inactive patients (no data).


Practice data is:

  • Stored in Primary Sense™in a database located in Microsoft Azure in Australia.
  • Microsoft Azure is a secure cloud- based infrastructure platform with industry standard security in place.


At Gold Coast PHN premises:
The Microsoft Azure database holding the data is only accessed by:

  • authorised and trained Gold Coast PHN staff
  • authorised and trained contracted staff
Primary Sense ™ uses industry standard database and business intelligence tools
  • This is controlled by IP Firewall.
  • All data accessed is inherently de-identified
By the Practice:
  • Access is obtained via login for authorised users using the Primary Sense Desktop™ or Primary Sense™ website applications.
  • GCPHN staff accessing the data to support Quality Improvement activities have signed confidentiality agreements with GCPHN and participating practices.
  • Patient data is only re-identified to the authorised user via Primary Sense within the Practice location/s.


Patient care (Primary use of data)

  • Data is analysed to support the identification of health risk factors and best practice care.
Population Health Planning (Secondary use of data)
  • De- identified, aggregated data may be used for: needs assessment, population health planning, service planning and project evaluation.
Patient consent
  • Patients’ have the option to withdraw from sharing their information and this can be recorded in Primary Sense™.
Aggregate level data for secondary purposes is shared via electronic transfer with:
  • Department of Health
  • Contractors working with GCPHN
  • Partners working collaboratively with GCPHN


Microsoft Azure meets a broad set of international and industry specific compliance standards.   

  • The Primary Sense ™ Database is secured with appropriate Firewall rules. 
GCPHN Staff security
  • Via website or Primary Sense™ applications and via controlled API methods / Stored Procedures.
  • Via database and Business Intelligence tools at Gold Coast PHN premises.
Practice staff security:
  • Practice staff only have access to their own patient data from within their practice.

  • If a patient withdraws consent to share their information, data will be deleted within one week.
  • If a patient becomes deceased, data is retained for 5 years, then deleted.
  • If a practice withdraws consent, all data is deleted within a week.
  • If a patient becomes inactive at a practice, all data is deleted (except patient ID which is retained for the purpose of meaningful use to link to another practice where consent has been obtained).
  • Data is deleted after 5 years or as required by external governing frameworks.

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