1. INTRODUCTION. A computer-based patient record (CPR) system, Swedestar, has been developed for use in primary health care. The principal aim of the system is to support continuous quality improvement through improved information handling, improved decision-making, and improved procedures for quality assurance. The Swedestar system has evolved during a ten-year period beginning in 1984. 2. SYSTEM DESIGN. The design philosophy is based on the following key factors: a shared, problem-oriented patient record; structured data entry based on an extensive controlled vocabulary; advanced search and query functions, where the query language has the most important role; integrated decision support for drug prescribing and care protocols and guidelines; integrated procedures for quality assurance. 3. A SHARED PROBLEM-ORIENTED PATIENT RECORD. The core of the CPR system is the problem-oriented patient record. All problems of one patient, recorded by different members of the care team, are displayed on the problem list. Starting from this list, a problem follow-up can be made, one problem at a time or for several problems simultaneously. Thus, it is possible to get an integrated view, across provider categories, of those problems of one patient that belong together. This shared problem-oriented patient record provides an important basis for the primary care team work. 4. INTEGRATED DECISION SUPPORT. The decision support of the system includes a drug prescribing module and a care protocol module. The drug prescribing module is integrated with the patient records and includes an on-line check of the patient's medication list for potential interactions and data-driven reminders concerning major drug problems. Care protocols have been developed for the most common chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. The patient records can be automatically checked according to the care protocols. 5. PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE. The Swedestar system has been implemented in a primary care area with 30,000 inhabitants. It is being used by all the primary care team members: 15 general practitioners, 25 district nurses, and 10 physiotherapists. Several years of practical experience of the CPR system shows that it has a positive impact on quality of care on four levels: 1) improved clinical follow-up of individual patients; 2) facilitated follow-up of aggregated data such as practice activity analysis, annual reports, and clinical indicators; 3) automated medical audit; and 4) concurrent audit. Within that primary care area, quality of care has improved substantially in several aspects due to the use of the CPR system .