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Clinical coding is variable in UK general practice. The reasons for this remain undefined. This review explains why there are no readily available alternatives to recording structured clinical data and reviews the barriers to recording structured clinical data. Methods used included a literature review of bibliographic databases, university health informatics departments, and national and international medical informatics associations. The results show that the current state of development of computers and data processing means there is no practical alternative to coding data. The identified barriers to clinical coding are: the limitations of the coding systems and terminologies and the skill gap in their use; recording structured data in the consultation takes time and is distracting; the level of motivation of primary care professionals; and the priority within the organization. A taxonomy is proposed to describe the barriers to clinical coding. This can be used to identify barriers to coding and facilitate the development of strategies to overcome them. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.
Background. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important predictor of end-stage renal disease, as well as a marker of increased mortality. The New Opportunities for Early Renal Intervention by Computerised Assessment (NEOERICA) project aimed to assess whether people with undiagnosed CKD who might benefit from early intervention could be identified from GP computer records. Methods. The simplified Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation was used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and determine stage of CKD in patients from 12 practices in Surrey, Kent and Greater Manchester with SCr recorded in their notes. Further data were extracted on associated co-morbidities and potentially modifiable risk factors. Results. One quarter (25.7%; 28 862/112 215) had an SCr recorded and one in five (18.9%) of them had a GFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 (equivalent to Stage 3-5 CKD), representing 4.9% of the population. Only 3.6% of these were recorded as having renal disease. Three-quarters (74.6%; 4075/5449) of those with Stage 3-5 CKD had one or more circulatory diseases; 346 were prescribed potentially nephrotoxic drugs and over 4000 prescriptions were issued for drugs recommended to be used with caution in renal impairment. Conclusions. Patients with CKD can be identified by searching GP computer databases; along with associated co-morbidities and treatment. Results revealed a similar rate of Stage 3-5 CKD to that found previously in the USA. The very low rate of recording of renal disease in patients found to have CKD indicates scope for improving detection and early intervention. © The Author (2005). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Objective. To evaluate the implementation of a primary care, nurse-led, near patient anticoagulant monitoring service. Design. Action research workshops, supported by questionnaires and clinical audit, to define the strengths and weaknesses of the service and the effectiveness of the computerised decision support system used to set the dosage of anticoagulant and time interval to the next appointment. Setting. 13 general practices that implemented anticoagulant monitoring in a primary care organisation in south east England. Participants. 18 practice nurses, 72% of whom had over 20 years' clinical experience; the university-based investigators and managers from the primary care organisation. Main outcome measure. The nurses felt that the patients preferred the practice-based service, finding it more personal and accessible. However, circumstances arose where the nurse's intuition had to override the software's advice. The nurses found it stressful when they were unclear whether their decision making represented acceptable variation or dangerous practice. An audit tool was developed to measure the extent to which there was variation from the software's recommendation, and patterns of variation emerged. Most evident was that nurses responded to uncertainty by practising cautiously, shortening the interval until the next visti and slightly reducing the recommended dose of warfarin. Conclusions. The group, by sharing their experiences through a structured series of workshops, developed an understanding of when it might be appropriate to vary from the decision support software's recommendations and how this could be audited. The technological solution modelled on hospital practice proved hard to implement in primary care. © 2004 PHCSG, British Computer Society.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Like other health care systems, the National Health Service (NHS) in England has looked to new staffing configurations faced with medical staff shortages and rising costs. One solution has been to employ physician associates (PAs). PAs are trained in the medical model to assess, diagnose and commence treatment under the supervision of a physician. This paper explores the perceived effects on professional boundaries and relationships of introducing this completely new professional group. It draws on data from a study, completed in 2014, which examined the contribution of PAs working in general practice. Data were gathered at macro, meso and micro levels of the health care system. At the macro and meso level data were from policy documents, interviews with civil servants, senior members of national medical and nursing organisations, as well as regional level NHS managers (n = 25). At the micro level data came from interviews with General Practitioners, nurse practitioners and practice staff (n = 30) as well as observation of clinical and professional meetings. Analysis was both inductive and also framed by the existing theories of a dynamic system of professions. It is argued that professional boundaries become malleable and subject to negotiation at the micro level of service delivery. Stratification within professional groups created differing responses between those working at macro, meso and micro levels of the system; from acceptance to hostility in the face of a new and potentially competing, occupational group. Overarching this state agency was the requirement to underpin legislatively the shifts in jurisdictional boundaries, such as prescribing required for vertical substitution for some of the work of doctors.
Post-authorisation passive enhanced safety surveillance of seasonal influenza vaccines: Protocol of a pilot study in England
© 2017 Author(s). Aim To pilot enhanced safety surveillance of seasonal influenza vaccine meeting the European Medicines Agency (EMA) requirement to rapidly detect a significant increase in the frequency or severity of adverse events of interest (AEIs), which may indicate risk from the new season's vaccine. Study design A prospective passive enhanced safety surveillance combining data collection from adverse drug reaction (ADR) cards with automated collection of pseudonymised routinely collected electronic health record (EHR) data. This study builds on a feasibility study carried out at the start of the 2015/2016 influenza season. We will report influenza vaccine exposure and any AEIs reported via ADR card or recorded directly into the EHR, from the commencement of influenza vaccination and ends as specified by EMA (30 November 2016). Setting Ten volunteer English general practices, primarily using the GSK influenza vaccines. They had selected this vaccine in advance of the study. Participants People who receive a seasonal influenza vaccine, in each age group defined in EMA interim guidance: 6 months to 5 years, 6-12 years, 13-17 years, 18-65 years and >65 years. Outcome measures The primary outcome measure is the rate of AEIs occurring within 7 days postvaccination, using passive surveillance of general practitioner (GP) EHR systems enhanced by a card-based ADR reporting system. Extracted data will be presented overall by brand (Fluarix Tetra vs others), by age strata and risk groups. The secondary outcome measure is the vaccine uptake among the subjects registered in the enrolled general practices. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was granted by the Proportionate Review Sub-committee of the North East-Newcastle & North Tyneside 2 on 5 August 2016. The study received approval from the Health Research Authority on 1 September 2016. We will produce an interim analysis within 8 weeks, and an end-of-study report, which will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals.
© 2016 British Journal of General Practice. Background Minor surgery is a well-established part of family practice, but its safety and costeffectiveness have been called into question. Aim To audit the performance of GP minor surgeons in three different settings. Design and setting A community-based surgery audit of GP minor surgery cases and outcomes from three settings: GPs who carried out minor surgery in their practice funded as enhanced (primary care) services (ESGPs); GPs with a special interest (GPwSIs) who worked independently within a healthcare organisation; and GPs working under acute trust governance (Model 2 GPs). Method An audit form was completed by volunteer GP minor surgeons. Data were collected about areas of interest and aggregated data tables produced. Percentages were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and significant differences across the three groups of GPs tested using the χ2 test. Results A total of 6138 procedures were conducted, with 41% (2498; 95% CI = 39.5 to 41.9) of GP minor surgery procedures being on the head/face. Nearly all of the samples from a procedure that were expected to be sent to histology were sent (5344; 88.8%; 95% CI = 88.0 to 89.6). Malignant diagnosis was correct in 69% (33; 95% CI = 54.2 to 79.2) of cases for ESGPs, 93% (293; 95% CI = 90.1 to 95.5) for GPwSIs, and 91% (282; 95% CI = 87.2 to 93.6) for Model 2 GPs. Incomplete excision was significantly more frequent for ESGPs (17%; 9; 95% CI = 7.5 to 28.3, P<0.001). Complication rates were very low across all practitioners. Conclusion GP minor surgery is safe and prompt. GPs working within a managed framework performed better. Consideration needs to be given on how better to support less wellsupervised GPs.
Defining disease phenotypes in primary care electronic health records by a machine learning approach: A case study in identifying rheumatoid arthritis
© 2016 Zhou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objectives: 1) To use data-driven method to examine clinical codes (risk factors) of a medical condition in primary care electronic health records (EHRs) that can accurately predict a diagnosis of the condition in secondary care EHRs. 2) To develop and validate a disease phenotyping algorithm for rheumatoid arthritis using primary care EHRs. Methods: This study linked routine primary and secondary care EHRs in Wales, UK. A machine learning based scheme was used to identify patients with rheumatoid arthritis from primary care EHRs via the following steps: i) selection of variables by comparing relative frequencies of Read codes in the primary care dataset associated with disease case compared to non-disease control (disease/non-disease based on the secondary care diagnosis); ii) reduction of predictors/associated variables using a Random Forest method, iii) induction of decision rules from decision tree model. The proposed method was then extensively validated on an independent dataset, and compared for performance with two existing deterministic algorithms for RA which had been developed using expert clinical knowledge. Results: Primary care EHRs were available for 2,238,360 patients over the age of 16 and of these 20,667 were also linked in the secondary care rheumatology clinical system. In the linked dataset, 900 predictors (out of a total of 43,100 variables) in the primary care record were discovered more frequently in those with versus those without RA. These variables were reduced to 37 groups of related clinical codes, which were used to develop a decision tree model. The final algorithm identified 8 predictors related to diagnostic codes for RA, medication codes, such as those for disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and absence of alternative diagnoses such as psoriatic arthritis. The proposed data-driven method performed as well as the expert clinical knowledge based methods. Conclusion: Data-driven scheme, such as ensemble machine learning methods, has the potential of identifying the most informative predictors in a cost-effective and rapid way to accurately and reliably classify rheumatoid arthritis or other complex medical conditions in primary care EHRs.
Genetic test to stop smoking (GeTSS) trial protocol: Randomised controlled trial of a genetic test (Respiragene) and Auckland formula to assess lung cancer risk
Background: A gene-based estimate of lung cancer risk in smokers has been shown to act as a smoking cessation motivator in hospital recruited subjects. The objective of this trial is to determine if this motivator is as effective in subjects recruited from an NHS primary care unit.Method/Design: Subjects will be recruited by mailings using smoking entries on the GP electronic data-base (total practice population = 32,048) to identify smokers who may want to quit. Smoking cessation clinics based on medical centre premises will run for eight weeks. Clinics will be randomised to have the gene-based test for estimation of lung cancer risk or to act as controls groups. The primary endpoint will be smoking cessation at eight weeks and six months. Secondary outcomes will include ranking of the gene-based test with other smoking cessation motivators.Discussion: The results will inform as to whether the gene-based test is both effective as motivator and acceptable to subjects recruited from primary care. © 2014 Nichols et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Defining datasets and creating data dictionaries for quality improvement and research in chronic disease using routinely collected data: An ontology-driven approach
Background: The burden of chronic disease is increasing, and research and quality improvement will be less effective if case finding strategies are suboptimal. Objective: To describe an ontology-driven approach to case finding in chronic disease and how this approach can be used to create a data dictionary and make the codes used in case finding transparent. Method: A five-step process: (1) identifying a reference coding system or terminology; (2) using an ontology-driven approach to identify cases; (3) developing metadata that can be used to identify the extracted data; (4) mapping the extracted data to the reference terminology; and (5) creating the data dictionary. Results: Hypertension is presented as an exemplar. A patient with hypertension can be represented by a range of codes including diagnostic, history and administrative. Metadata can link the coding system and data extraction queries to the correct data mapping and translation tool, which then maps it to the equivalent code in the reference terminology. The code extracted, the term, its domain and subdomain, and the name of the data extraction query can then be automatically grouped and published online as a readily searchable data dictionary. An exemplar online is: www.clininf.eu/qickd-datadictionary. html Conclusion: Adopting an ontology-driven approach to case finding could improve the quality of disease registers and of research based on routine data. It would offer considerable advantages over using limited datasets to define cases. This approach should be considered by those involved in research and quality improvement projects which utilise routine data. © 2011 PHCSG, British Computer Society.
Cholesterol management in patients with IHD: An audit-based appraisal of progress towards clinical targets in primary care
Anonymised data collected from 24 participating localities in England have been aggregated for this report. The data are taken from general practice computer records using a validated extraction tool Morbidity Information Query and Export SynTax (MIQUEST). The number of patients with heart disease, a cholesterol measure, whether they had been prescribed a statin, their quality of control, and its implications are reported. In the population studied of 2.4 million, 89,422 patients had a diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease; a prevalence rate of 3.7%. Cholesterol measurement was available for half (48.3%) of these patients, of whom half (55.2%) were taking a statin. As a result of this treatment gap, 118 excess myocardial infarctions annually are predicted, equivalent to around 7,150 events nationally. Compared to previous audits carried out in UK general practice, considerable progress has been made towards the achievement of treatment goals. The treatment gap is represented by a combination of lack of measurement and recording of data as well as poor quality of control.
Incidence of lower respiratory tract infections and atopic conditions in boys and young male adults: Royal college of general practitioners research and surveillance centre annual report 2015-2016
© Simon de Lusignan, Ana Correa, Richard Pebody, Ivelina Yonova, Gillian Smith, Rachel Byford, Sameera Rankiri Pathirannehelage, Christopher McGee, Alex J. Elliot, Mariya Hriskova, Filipa IM Ferreira, Imran Rafi, Simon Jones. Background: The Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre comprises more than 150 general practices, with a combined population of more than 1.5 million, contributing to UK and European public health surveillance and research. Objective: The aim of this paper was to report gender differences in the presentation of infectious and respiratory conditions in children and young adults. Methods: Disease incidence data were used to test the hypothesis that boys up to puberty present more with lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and asthma. Incidence rates were reported for infectious conditions in children and young adults by gender. We controlled for ethnicity, deprivation, and consultation rates. We report odds ratios (OR) with 95% CI, P values, and probability of presenting. Results: Boys presented more with LRTI, largely due to acute bronchitis. The OR of males consulting was greater across the youngest 3 age bands (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.35-1.87; OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.05-1.21; OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.09-1.32). Allergic rhinitis and asthma had a higher OR of presenting in boys aged 5 to 14 years (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.37-1.68; OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.17-1.48). Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and urinary tract infection (UTI) had lower odds of presenting in boys, especially those older than 15 years. The probability of presenting showed different patterns for LRTI, URTI, and atopic conditions. Conclusions: Boys younger than 15 years have greater odds of presenting with LRTI and atopic conditions, whereas girls may present more with URTI and UTI. These differences may provide insights into disease mechanisms and for health service planning.
Comparison of medication adherence and persistence in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Limited medication adherence and persistence with treatment are barriers to successful management of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, the Register of Controlled Trials, PsychINFO and CINAHL for observational and interventional studies that compared the adherence or persistence associated with 2 or more glucose-lowering medications in people with T2D. Where 5 or more studies provided the same comparison, a random-effects meta-analysis was performed, reporting mean difference (MD) or odds ratio (OR) for adherence or persistence, depending on the pooled study outcomes. We included a total of 48 studies. Compared with metformin, adherence (%) was better for sulphonylureas (5 studies; MD 10.6%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.5-14.7) and thiazolidinediones (TZDs; 6 studies; MD 11.3%, 95% CI 2.7%-20.0%). Adherence to TZDs was marginally better than adherence to sulphonylureas (5 studies; MD 1.5%, 95% CI 0.1-2.9). Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors had better adherence than sulphonylureas and TZDs. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists had higher rates of discontinuation than long-acting analogue insulins (6 studies; OR 1.95; 95% CI 1.17-3.27). Long-acting insulin analogues had better persistence than human insulins (5 studies; MD 43.1 days; 95% CI 22.0-64.2). The methods used to define adherence and persistence were highly variable.
Association between glycaemic control and common infections in people with Type 2 diabetes: a cohort study
© 2016 Diabetes UK Aim: To investigate the impact of glycaemic control on infection incidence in people with Type 2 diabetes. Methods: We compared infection rates during 2014 in people with Type 2 diabetes and people without diabetes in a large primary care cohort in the UK (the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre database). We performed multilevel logistic regression to investigate the impact of Type 2 diabetes on presentation with infection, and the effect of glycaemic control on presentation with upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, influenza-like illness, pneumonia, intestinal infectious diseases, herpes simplex, skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, and genital and perineal infections. People with Type 2 diabetes were stratified by good [HbA 1c < 53 mmol/mol (< 7%)], moderate [HbA 1c 53–69 mmol/mol (7–8.5%)] and poor [HbA 1c > 69 mmol/mol (> 8.5%)] glycaemic control using their most recent HbA 1c concentration. Infection incidence was adjusted for important sociodemographic factors and patient comorbidities. Results: We identified 34 278 people with Type 2 diabetes and 613 052 people without diabetes for comparison. The incidence of infections was higher in people with Type 2 diabetes for all infections except herpes simplex. Worsening glycaemic control was associated with increased incidence of bronchitis, pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infections, urinary tract infections, and genital and perineal infections, but not with upper respiratory tract infections, influenza-like illness, intestinal infectious diseases or herpes simplex. Conclusions: Almost all infections analysed were more common in people with Type 2 diabetes. Infections that are most commonly of bacterial, fungal or yeast origin were more frequent in people with worse glycaemic control.
Physician associates in England's hospitals: A survey of medical directors exploring current usage and factors affecting recruitment
© Royal College of Physicians 2017. All rights reserved. In the UK secondary care setting, the case for physician associates is based on the cover and stability they might offer to medical teams. We assessed the extent of their adoption and deployment -That is, their current usage and the factors supporting or inhibiting their inclusion in medical teams - using an electronic, self-report survey of medical directors of acute and mental health NHS trusts in England. Physician associates - employed in small numbers, in a range of specialties, in 20 of the responding trusts - were reported to have been employed to fill gaps in medical staffing and support medical specialty trainees. Inhibiting factors were commonly a shortage of physician associates to recruit and lack of authority to prescribe, as well as a lack of evidence and colleague resistance. Our data suggest there is an appetite for employment of physician associates while practical and attitudinal barriers are yet to be fully overcome.
© 2017, The Author(s). Introduction: The first cardiovascular safety trial in the sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor drug class, the Empagliflozin Cardiovascular Outcomes and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes (EMPA-REG OUTCOME) trial, demonstrated significant cardiovascular risk reduction with empagliflozin. It is currently not clear what proportions of people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have the same high cardiovascular risk as those included in the trial, and will therefore be likely to experience the same cardiovascular benefit. We aimed to identify and describe the proportion of people with T2DM from a representative English national population who have the comparable high cardiovascular risk to those included in the EMPA-REG trial. Method: A cross-sectional analysis of cardiovascular risk in people with T2DM and a subgroup prescribed SGLT2 inhibitors. Patients were identified from the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre database. Cardiovascular risk factors were identified from electronic patient records. Results: From 1,238,909 patients at 128 GP practices, we identified 60,327 adults with T2DM (mean age 66.1 years, SD 13.9) of whom 55.6% were male. From these 1642 (2.7%) people had been initiated on an SGLT2 inhibitor (mean age 58.1 years, SD 10.4; 58.8% male). In the complete T2DM group only 15.7% (95% CI 15.5–16.0%) had the same high cardiovascular risk as those included in the EMPA-REG trial. In those already initiated on SGLT2 inhibitors this proportion was 11.1% (95% CI 9.8–12.4%). Whilst the proportion was higher in the oldest age groups, in those 70+ years old less than a quarter met the EMPA-REG trial high cardiovascular risk criteria. Conclusions: The EMPA-REG trial results are applicable only to a small proportion of people with T2DM and a smaller proportion of those currently treated with SGLT2 inhibitors. Additional data are required to identify any cardiovascular benefit in people with lower cardiovascular risk. Funding: AstraZeneca.
Sodium-Glucose Co-Transporter-2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors: Comparing Trial and Real World Use (Study Protocol)
© 2017, The Author(s). Background: Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (gliflozins) are the newest class of medication available to treat type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Recent findings from the first complete cardiovascular safety trial in SGLT2 inhibitors, the Empagliflozin, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Mortality in type 2 diabetes (EMPA-REG OUTCOMES) trial, demonstrated reduced cardiovascular outcomes in people with high cardiovascular risk. How to apply these findings to clinical practice remains unclear, with questions remaining on who will reap this cardiovascular benefit. Aim: To describe the proportion of people in the real world currently treated with SGLT2 inhibitors who meet the inclusion criteria of the EMPA-REG trial and therefore could expect the cardiovascular benefit identified by the trial. Similarly, to describe the proportion of people from the whole T2DM population who could also expect this same benefit. Design and Setting: Routinely collected data from UK primary care in the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) database will be used. The study population will include all people with T2DM within this database (approximately 60,000). We will perform a cross-sectional investigation to describe the characteristics of people currently using SGTL2 inhibitors compared with the population of the EMPA-REG trail. We will similarly compare the characteristics of the RCGP RSC T2DM cohort with the inclusion criteria of the EMPA-REG trial. Method: People with T2DM using a pre-existing verified clinical ontological process will be identified, as will people with prescriptions for SGLT2 inhibitors and other medications using Read coded and other proprietary coding systems. Descriptive statistics will be used to characterise the key clinical characteristics of people with T2DM using SGLT2 inhibitors and to compare these characteristics to people included in EMPA-REG trial; the proportion of people who match the trial criteria will be reported. Planned Outputs: Peer review publication reporting the real world lessons for clinical practice. Funding: AstraZeneca.
Computerised routinely collected primary care data: Essential for patient access to records, quality improvement and research
Another interesting issue of Informatics in Primary Care - with articles ranging from some potential advantages of poly-hierarchical coding; through emerging models of key factors in implementing electronic patient record systems; how we share health data and information with our patients - bearing in mind their variable access to and use of the internet; and how we might best utilise practice data for quality improvement and research. © 2010 PHCSG, British Computer Society.