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FAQ.

  • I am interested in participating. How can I contact you?
    Please send an e-mail to fire@usz.ch Important: If you participate in the FIRE project, there is no effort on your part, as the export of the data takes place automatically in the background and coding of your diagnoses is not necessary.
  • Is my patient data safe with FIRE?
    The Institute of Primary Care of the University of Zurich attaches great importance to compliance with the relevant applicable data protection provisions, in particular in the Federal Data Protection Act (DPA), the Cantonal Information and Data Protection Act (IDA) and the Federal Human Research Act (HRA) as well as their associated ordinances at federal and cantonal level. The Institute of Primary Care undertakes all necessary information security efforts to protect the data through appropriate organizational and technical measures. In particular, it provides a secure database server at the University of Zurich (based on ISO 27001 certification), to which the data from the electronic health record of the FIRE participants are automatically exported and uploaded. Further processing of the FIRE data takes place on servers at the University Hospital of Zurich (also based on ISO 27001 certification) as well as on a server at the Institute of Primary Care (within the University Hospital Zurich network) specifically designated for this project. The Institute of Primary Care also ensures that access to the FIRE data is only possible for researchers, staff and medical personnel involved in the FIRE project. It informs the FIRE participants immediately about special incidents (e.g. data loss, hacker attack, unauthorized access). The FIRE project has been reviewed by the Cantonal Ethics Committee of the Canton of Zurich (BASEC No. Req-2017-00797) and by the Data Protection Law Department of the University of Zurich. Due to the automatic anonymization of the data during extraction («hashing» of the patient ID, a mathematical procedure to encrypt the patient ID), it is not possible to draw conclusions about the patients. The data are thus irreversibly anonymized. Consequently, in application of the HFG, the patients' consent to the export of the data sets is not required.
  • Who is the FIRE team?
    Find out who is behind the FIRE team here.
  • Which software is supported by FIRE?
    The FIRE export program is currently provided by seven electronic health record vendors (in alphabetical order): AESKULAP (Kern Concept AG) curaMED (Swisscom) pex II (Delemed AG) siMed (amétiq AG) tomedo (zollsoft AG) vitomed (Vitodata AG) (browser based solution only) WinMed® (TMR AG)
  • My software is not listed. What can I do?
    All manufacturers of electronic medical record (EMR) software are always welcome to participate in the FIRE project as well. The basic requirement is that the software is able to export clinical data from the EMR in the form of an Extended Markup Language (xml) file. Write us a message on fire@usz.ch and we will contact the manufacturer of the software for you.
  • Which data will be extracted?
    The data set to be exported includes: Patient's age and gender, blood group. Vital data (such as blood pressure, pulse, weight, BMI, etc.) Problem and diagnosis list (diagnoses coded using ICPC-2, ICD-10, Tessiner code or not coded) Laboratory data (such as Hb, Lc, CRP, etc.) Medications (ATC/pharma code) with dosages Vaccinations, allergies, risk factors (smoking, alcohol, etc.) No invoice data or history entries (free text entries) are exported!
  • Where do I find the publications of the FIRE project?
    You will find a compilation of the publications here.
  • What is the contribution to research in family medicine of the FIRE project?
    At present, hardly any data from outpatient medicine is available for medical research. This is despite the fact that the majority of patients in the Swiss healthcare system are treated on an outpatient basis rather than in hospitals. In this context, medical records of primary care physicians represent an important data source, whose comprehensive evaluation could provide important insights into morbidity and clinical issues. FIRE developed an export program in cooperation with the respective EMR providers, which exports patient data anonymously from the EMRs of the participating GPs and stores them in the FIRE database. This is a continuously growing data pool that makes it possible to track outpatient care histories over time and compare care quality using quality indicators. Thus, the FIRE database is a unique and internationally significant data source that allows to answer clinical and epidemiological questions in family medicine and to further develop and improve health care research and quality in Switzerland.
  • What is the FIRE Study Group?
    All analyses of the FIRE data are carried out on a project basis and are performed exclusively by scientific staff of the Institute of Family Medicine at the University of Zurich. Which questions are discussed in such a project is decided by a committee of university and GP representatives. The participating GPs are thus actively involved in the generation of research hypotheses. All GPs participating in the project as data providers belong to the «FIRE Study Group». Scientific publications based on the FIRE data are published under affiliation of the Institute of Family Medicine of the University of Zurich and the "FIRE Study Group" and are available to all members.
  • Do I need to code my diagnoses if I participate?
    No, coding is not a requirement to participate in the FIRE project. However, the value of FIRE data can be significantly enhanced by coding according to the ICPC-2 classification. Coding allows medication data, vital signs, and laboratory values to be placed in medical context. All electronic medical records that allow FIRE export also provide ICPC-2 coding capability. A web page listing all ICPC-2 codes can be found here. A complete list of the ICPC-2 codes can be found here.
  • What does ICPC-2 mean?
    The ICPC-2 classification was developed by WONCA specifically for the needs of family medicine. In contrast to the ICD-10 classification, it can be used to record not only diagnoses, but also consultation occasions and symptoms that are not classified with a detailed diagnosis within a single consultation. Since this situation is commonplace in family practice, the ICPC-2 classification is the ideal basis for mapping the work of family physicians. A web page listing all ICPC-2 codes can be found here. A complete list of the ICPC-2 codes can be found here. Coding is not a requirement to participate in the FIRE project
  • Is there any tutorial for ICPC-2 coding?
    The Institute of Primary Care at the University of Zurich offers an online tutorial for ICPC-2 coding. This tutorial teaches the practical and rational use of the classification so that coding does not generate significant additional work during everyday practice. FIRE participants can request access to the online tutorial at fire@usz.ch.
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