Colposcopy database informs clinical guidelines

17 March 2023 | Research and clinical trials | Infectious Disease

A colposcopy database developed more than 20 years ago – by Dr Jeffrey Tan and Michael Murfitt at the Women’s - has provided the evidence to change clinical practice nationally.

Colposcopy is a common procedure used to examine the cervix and vagina for disease.

The Women’s Dysplasia Clinic provides specialist care for women with pre-cancerous abnormalities, most of who are referred after receiving abnormal cervical screening tests.

The On-Dysplay database was developed as a tool to capture information about women attending the clinic for colposcopy, to better understand diagnostic, treatment and management for abnormal cervical screening results or post coital bleeding.

The database has captured information from 63,227 patients, 133,785 episodes of care, and 16,750 treatments. It was developed by Dr Tan and Mr Murfitt in 1999 through fundraising efforts by Professor Michael Quinn AM, the past Head of the Women’s Oncology and Dysplasia Unit.

It was upgraded in 2017, when HPV screening was introduced, and was used at the Women’s until August 2020, when a Electronic Medical Record system was implemented. More than 17 medical journal articles have been published as a result of the database.

Dr Tan said the data had been gathered over 20 years, at every patient visit, and allowed the team at the Women’s to improve clinical care through an ongoing process of audit and research.

“But our data collection functioned as much more than that; we have been able to use it to support patients and ensure they don’t miss vital appointments,” he said.

“It takes effort from all in the healthcare team to ensure the data is collected diligently and is complete and accurate.

“You need champions who can work through the data to develop recommendations. Ultimately this benefits our patients, ensuring they receive the best quality care.”

Mr David Wrede, Consultant Gynaecologist and Lead for Dysplasia at the Women’s, said it was the best colposcopy data tool he had seen.

“The database has changed our practice at the Women’s and provided evidence to inform revision of the clinical guidance to the National Cervical Screening Program,” he said.