Can the prevalence of disease risk factors be assessed from general practice records?
Mant D., Phillips A.
The result of an audit of the recording of smoking habit, alcohol consumption, blood pressure level, diet, exercise, height, weight, and occupation in patients in five general practices is reported. This audit was the first phase of a study to assess the feasibility of the exchange of information between general practice and a district health authority. The frequency with which each item was recorded varied from 3% (exercise) to 65% (blood pressure) in a five year period. The sample of patients upon whom a recording had been made was shown to be unrepresentative of the practice population: this presents a difficulty in using general practice records to estimate the prevalence of risk factors for disease in the community.