Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH)


Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) is a University of Sydney program that analysed data collected by General Practitioners (GPs) and reported information about GP-patient encounters from clinical practices across Australia.

For over 18 years, the BEACH program produced critical information and reports which have been used by academic and research institutions, industry, government and non-government organisations to understand and improve Australian primary healthcare delivery and patient care, and inform business decisions.

What does BEACH do?

From 1998, BEACH randomly sampled approximately 1,000 GPs from across Australia every year, collecting information on 100 consecutive patient encounters to generate an annual sample of about 100,000 GP-patient encounters.

The BEACH program now has a database of over 1.7 million encounters – i.e. instances where a GP interacted with a patient to treat from one to four medical issues or complaints.

What is in BEACH?

BEACH is a vital primary care data source because medications provided are directly linked to indications – i.e. the problems or diagnoses for which the medication was provided. This is unique to the BEACH data set.

BEACH provides reliable and generalisable data on:

  • Characteristics of General Practitioners
  • Characteristics of practices and patients
  • The reasons people seek medical care
  • Problems managed at GP encounters, with each problem directly linked to:
    - Medications prescribed, advised or supplied
    - Clinical treatments and procedures provided
    - Referrals to specialists and allied health services
    - Tests ordered, including pathology, imaging and other investigations.

How can BEACH data help you?

For industry and government

BEACH has delivered over 800 bespoke reports to inform and support key business decisions by industry and government for:

  • PBS submissions
  • Changes in GP prescribing patterns
  • Product information with prescribed daily dose
  • Changes in practice in response to changes in health policy
  • Baseline evidence for change measurement
  • Evidence of prescribing behaviours for specific medications, and conditions or indicators
  • Other non-medical management of conditions of interest
  • WAMTC reference pricing applied to groups of PBS subsidised drugs
  • Product market share by:
    - Indication
    - Patient characteristics, e.g. age; sex; locality; Indigenous status
    - GP characteristics, age; sex; size of practice; locality of practice

For academia

BEACH has provided over 130 bespoke analyses that have formed the basis for more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, grant applications or theses on varied research topics for national and international Universities. Some examples are:

  • Intellectual disability
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Heart failure and multi-morbidity
  • Comparisons of multi-morbidity
  • Antibiotics for acute respiratory infections
  • Management of asthma and COPD
  • Lipid medication in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and
    non-Indigenous patients
  • Respiratory infections in children <5 yrs
  • Steroid injections for tennis elbow
  • Cost and disease burden of pneumonia
  • Validation of electronic medical data
  • Musculoskeletal conditions in children
  • Determinants of HIV testing
  • Unplanned pregnancy and emergency contraception

Contact us

For more information about BEACH, please contact Chris Harrison:

Phone: (02) 8627 5511