Electronic record linkage to create diabetes registers

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7129.472a (Published 07 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:472

Impressive results can be obtained without record linkage

  1. Peter J Leslie, Consultant physiciana,
  2. Sheena McDonald, Audit facilitatora,
  3. Ian A McDonald, Director, public health medicinea
  1. a Borders General Hospital, Melrose, Roxburghshire TD6 9BS
  2. b National Centre for Training and Education in Prosthetics and Orthotics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0LS
  3. c Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow G4 0LS
  4. d 381 West Farm Avenue, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 8UT
  5. e North Tyneside General Hospital, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE29 8NH

    Editor—Morris et al have shown a gold standard method of compiling a community based diabetes register using record linkage of multiple data sources.1 They conclude that this method was “more sensitive than general practice registers in ascertaining cases of known diabetes.” We question the subliminal message in their paper—that with a diabetes register created from data from hospital clinics and general practices alone, effective diabetes care could not be delivered and outcomes monitored as outlined in the targets of the St Vincent declaration.2

    Using general practice registers and the hospital clinic register in the Borders region of Scotland, we have identified 2067 live patients in the area from a total population of 106 000 (point prevalence 1.95%). We believe that we have achieved this quality of data collection by means of anonymised feedback of the prevalence of diabetes and other indicators to each practice annually. Between 1995 and 1996 this resulted in an increase in the number of known patients with diabetes from 1825 to 2067; seven of 24 practices in the area have a prevalence of diabetes of over 2%, and in one practice the prevalence is 3.5%. The recording of retinopathy screening improved from …

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