The COVID-19-Barometer in general practices

Last updated on 29-10-2020 by Bénédicte Vos

General practitioners in Belgium using electronic patient records are invited to participate in the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0 surveillance. Instructions on how to register are available in Dutch and French for each software package.

How can I participate in the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0 project as a general practitioner?

The COVID-19 Barometer 2.0 uses the statistical module of the electronic medical record. To participate, general practitioners run a prepared AUDIT for their practice and then complete an e-form with the results from the AUDIT.

When and how often should I transfer the results of my practice?

Results should be transferred on a daily basis, at the end of the day or before 10 am the next morning. One practitioner in the practice executes the AUDIT and writes the results in the e-form. Participating GP’s are asked to transfer data of their practice at least twice a week. If they do so during the full registration period, they will receive the minimal financial incentive. If the practice transfers results at least 4 times each week, they will receive the maximum financial incentive.

Can I view the results of my practice?

You can view the results of your practice and compare it with other practices in your region. Instructional video’s (only available in Dutch and French) explain how to do.

Description of all 5 diagnoses to be registered

The following diagnoses are registered:

  • Coronavirus infection: suspected COVID-19 case (ICPC-2 code R80, ICD-10 code J11.1)
  • Coronavirus infection: confirmed COVID-19 case (ICPC-2 code A77, ICD-10 code B34.2)
  • Influenza like illness (ILI) (ICPC-2 code R80)
  • Viral syndrome (ICPC-2 code A77)
  • Acute respiratory infection (ARI)

Detailed descriptions of all diagnoses are available in Dutch and French.

Frequently Asked Questions…

…by practitioners interested to participate in the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0

What are the conditions to participate? Who can participate?

Participation is open to all general practices in Belgium. Participation requires the use of electronic medical records with one of the compatible software packages. For the full list of all compatible software developers, see the instructional video’s in the Dutch and French pages.

How do I subscribe to participate?

If you want to participate, you can start immediately. First watching the instructional video for your software package may help. (see instructional video’s in the Dutch and French pages)

Will I be payed for participation?

Regular participation in the Barometer 2.0 is financially compensated. If data is sent at least 4 days a week over the period of the Barometer, an amount of 800€ will be granted to each GP of the participating practice; if data is sent at least 2 days a week over the period of the Barometer (and less than 4 times), an amount of 400€ will be granted to each GP of the participating practice. If data is sent less than 2 times a week, no payment will be made.

Why is the registration per practice but the payment per GP?

Data collection via the e-form is done at the end of the day by one GP and includes data from the entire practice. It only takes a few minutes. The real effort making your results worthwhile is the coding of diagnoses: they are entered every day by all GP’s of the practice. This work is appreciated in the payment of the financial incentive to each registering GP.

Is the software I use compatible?

If you use a software package mentioned at the Dutch and French pages, you can transfer your data to the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0.

… by general practitioners participating in Barometer 2.0

Administrative questions

When should I send my data?

Data should be transmitted at the end of the day or the next morning before 10 am.

The composition of the medical practice has changed (new GP or departure of a GP): what should I do?

At first registration, you will give the medical practice information (such as name, address, RIZIV number of the GP’s in the practice…). At the following connections, they will be automatically filled in the e-form. When you want to update a field, you can modify the automatically filled in data.

What happens if I work as a GP in more than one practice?

If you work in more than one practice participating in the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0, you will receive the financial compensation associated with the highest level of participation.

Why are no more data collected on workload and supplies, as in the first Barometer?

The Barometer 2.0 focuses on a syndromic surveillance, using a limited number of indicators directly collected from the electronic medical records. Time for data collection is reduced. It also increases the quality of the collected data. Data on workload and material stock may be collected by other instruments.

Collected data

How do I register a patient coming for multiple consultations during the same care episode?

Every contact is registered. The instructional video provided by your software package (see the Dutch and French pages, section ‘How can I fill in the Barometer via my software package?’) shows how to record the codes during a single episode in a patient with several contacts.

Is a patient without symptoms (return from abroad, request from the employer) registered as “a suspicion of COVID-19” for the Barometer?

No. The Barometer 2.0 intends a syndromic surveillance. Asymptomatic patients are therefore not included in the Barometer. However, there are codes to register a suspicion of COVID-19 without clinical signs, but this data will not be extracted by the AUDIT at the end of the day.

What about the participation of triage centers in the Barometer?

Triage centers are not included in the Barometer 2.0, which focuses on the situation in the general practice and on symptomatic patients. There are other registers and studies collecting data from triage centers.

Why does the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0 collect the number of “active patients” in the practice between September 2018 and August 2020?

The number of active patients in the practice during the last two years (September 2018 to August 2020) gives an idea of the size of the practice and is used as a denominator for the daily collected data.

Why collect the percentage of coded diagnoses?

The Barometer 2.0 collects diagnoses coded in the electronic medical records. The percentage of coded diagnoses gives a picture of the use of coding in the electronic medical records in the practice. This allows a statistical correction to the collected indicators if necessary. Given the importance of the use of diagnostic codes in the Barometer 2.0, it is important that this percentage is as high as possible.


Contact the barometer manager if you have other questions.

About the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0

The version 2.0 of the COVID-19 Barometer provides syndromic surveillance in the general practice and collects a limited number of data (presumption or confirmation of COVID-19, viral syndrome, influenza and acute respiratory tract infections). This new tool has been developed to be quick and easy to use. It uses diagnoses encoded in the electronic medical records (EMD) and at the end of the day an AUDIT system automatically counts the number of diagnoses encoded for these specific indicators.

In contrast to the first version, the COVID-19 Barometer 2.0 focuses only on syndrome indicators. It no longer collects data on the workload and the inventory of personal protective equipment. This allows focusing on the health situation in general practice. The Barometer 2.0 aims at a broad participation of general practitioners, in order to reflect the local situation as well as possible.

The data collection system has also evolved: it now exclusively uses the EMD. This greatly reduces the registration burden for participating general practitioners and provides more flexibility for the themes to be registered.

More about the Barometer project

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