New research will help fight diabetes

20 Dec 2017

A not-for-profit research database powered by EMIS Health GP practices has been used to step up the fight against diabetes – one of the UK’s biggest health problems.

Using the QResearch database – a not-for-profit collaboration between EMIS Health and the University of Nottingham – researchers at the University have produced a new tool to help clinicians identify more people at risk of developing the condition.

They have updated the existing QDiabetes algorithm – first released in 2009 – to become a more comprehensive clinical tool in quantifying the absolute risk of type 2 diabetes in people aged 25-84 years. 

In addition to assessing established risk factors, the algorithm now takes into account new risk factors including: atypical antipsychotics, statins, schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder, learning disability, gestational diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome.

It has also been updated to enable clinicians to comply with the latest NICE guidance for diagnosing diabetes, which recommends a second stage of the process in some circumstances, to take into account either fasting blood glucose levels or HBA1c testing. 

The research is outlined in a new paper published in the BMJ. Researchers found that the addition of fasting blood glucose to the updated QDiabetes model had the best discrimination and sensitivity and can potentially improve on currently available risk assessment approaches to identify those at risk of diabetes.

Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General practice at the University of Nottingham, medical Director of ClinRisk Ltd and a co-founder of QResearch, said: “Clinical knowledge never stands still, and this research has shown us how we can improve even further on the success of a tool that is supporting the frontline fight against diabetes.”

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, EMIS Group’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “This is an excellent example of how EMIS Group is delivering its vision to support longer, healthier lives for everyone."  

“We are grateful for the continuing support of our GP customers; without the contribution of their data, this important research would not have been possible.”