Improving the identification of people with dementia in primary care

Better codingThis journal article presents findings of work to develop guidance on the coding of dementia and reports on the impact of applying this to ‘clean up’ dementia coding and records at a practice level in London.

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The article demonstrates the potential of a simple primary care coding exercise, requiring no specific training, to increase the dementia identification rate. An improvement of 8.8% between 2011 and 2012 is equivalent to that of the fourth most improved primary care trust in the UK.

In absolute terms, if this effects were mirrored across the UK primary care, the number of cases with dementia identified would rise by over 70 000 from 364 329 to 434 488 raising the recognition rate from 46% to 54.8%.

Implementing this exercise appears to be a simple and effective way to improve recognition rates in primary care.