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OBJECTIVES: Diabetic Retinopathy screening services aim to reduce the risk of sight loss amongst patients with diabetes. The rising incidence of diabetes in England and the operational need to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of screening lists led to a pilot study of electronic extraction of data from primary care. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of updating the single collated list of patients eligible for diabetic eye screening using extracts from electronic patient records in primary care. SETTING AND METHODS: The Gloucestershire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme (GDESP) provides screening for 85 General Practices in the county. Of these, 54 using Egton Medical Information Systems (EMIS) practice management system software agreed to participate in this study. The screening list held in 2009 by the Gloucestershire DESP of 14,209 patients known to have diabetes was audited against a list created with automatic extraction from General Practice records of patients marked with the diabetes Read Code C10. Those subsequently screened and referred to the Hospital Eye service were followed up. RESULTS: The Gloucestershire DESP manual list covering the 54 EMIS practices comprised 14,771 people with diabetes. The audit process identified an additional 709 (4.8%) patients coded C10, including 23 diagnosed more than 5 years ago, and 20 patients under the age of 20 who were diagnosed more than a year ago. CONCLUSION: Automatic extraction of data from General Practice identified 709 patients coded as having diabetes not previously known to the Gloucestershire DESP.

Original publication




Journal article


J med screen

Publication Date





111 - 117


Electronic health records, automatic extraction/updating, diabetic retinopathy/diagnosis, general practice, public health, screening, Diabetic Retinopathy, Electronic Health Records, England, General Practice, Humans, Incidence, Mass Screening, Referral and Consultation