17 November 2011
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Q. How do I set up a disease register on my GP software system? I plan to establish registers for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and heart failure.

A. The best way to set up disease registers is to code your patients' diseases in your GP practice software system. Use the International Classification of Primary Care ICPC-2. You can view an overview of this classification at; www.globalfamilydoctor.com/wicc/pagers/english.pdf.

Useful ICPC-2 codes:
T90 - Diabetes non-insulin dependent
T89 - Diabetes insulin dependent
R96 - Asthma
R95 - COPD
K77 - Heart failure

Start with one disease at a time, try to identify all your patients that have this disease by searching for specific medications using your practice software system or identifying patients when they come for repeat prescriptions or review, or working with your support staff to tag new diagnoses from hospital discharge letters. When you identify patients with the disease, code the disease in their electronic health record. Instructions on how to code within the individual GP practice software systems are available on the GPIT website at www.gpit.ie

Once your diseases are coded you can search for them, do recalls and analyse lots of aspects of their care. Disease coding is also a great help in carrying out practice audits.

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