Risk assessment tool to help GPs prevent diabetes

17 Dec 2012

Thousands of GPs are to benefit from a new open source risk assessment tool that will identify patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes – at the click of a mouse.

The QDiabetes tool – an algorithm that calculates a patient’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next 10 years – has been integrated in the EMIS Web clinical software system, used by more than 1,000 GP practices, and is now being rolled out to users.

The algorithm, which has been independently validated by Oxford’s Centre for Statistics in Medicine, calculates a patient’s risk score by analysing physical, lifestyle and socio-economic factors. It was developed using QResearch – a not-for-profit partnership between the University of Nottingham and EMIS, the UK’s leading supplier of GP software.

EMIS is the first supplier to have integrated such a tool into its software since new diabetes prevention guidelines were issued by NICE earlier this year. Over 3 million people in the UK now suffer from the condition, 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes, and estimates suggest that a further 850,000 people may have an undiagnosed condition.

Neil Laycock, Managing Director of EMIS, said: “The guidelines issued by NICE back in July call on health professionals to adopt a more strategic approach to diabetes identification and risk reduction. QDiabetes is one component of a risk reduction strategy which will help GPs meet this call, enabling them to easily, quickly and simply capture data that will help identify patients at risk of diabetes and improve patient care.”

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, from Nottingham University, said: “The beauty of integrating this tool with GP software is that it enables data to be easily captured or reviewed with the patient during the normal consultation process – with all information immediately updated on the patient’s medical records - including any intervention recommendations provided.”

As well as running the algorithm during individual consultations, practices can also run ‘batch’ assessments across all patient records. This provides a useful first indication of those patients most at risk, enabling practices to target their prevention strategies more effectively and to call in patients for consultations where appropriate.