NHS releases read codes for diagnosing frailty
A series of read codes for generating an electronic frailty score have been released by the NHS information centre, in a move that NHS England leaders said will help GPs to formally diagnose the condition and provide better preventative care.
The roughly 2,000 read codes map onto 43 potential clinical ‘deficits’ - variables including dizziness, hearing or visual impairment, cognitive impairment and mobility problems - in a patient’s existing health record.
Speaking at the recent RCGP annual conference in Liverpool, NHS England lead on integration and frail elderly care Professor John Young explained the read codes can be used to generate a cumulative electronic frailty index - eFI - that is ‘a really good predictive model of frailty’.
The eFI allows elderly patients to be separated irrespective of age into mild, moderate and severe frailty groups, and NHS England is developing protocols around the appropriate interventions for each group - essentially supported self-management for patients with mild frailty, care and support planning for those with moderate frailty and case management or end-of-life care for those falling into the severe group.
The index was developed by TPP along with Leeds University researchers and is already available for SystmOne users, while the codes have now been developed and released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Professor Young told Pulse: ‘This means we will for the first time be able to “officially” diagnose frailty. The expectation is that this will be an important step in fully recognising frailty as an abnormal health state rather than an adjective that describes a person. Also, by grading frailty - just like heart failure, [into] mild, moderate and severe - we will be in a better position to consider graded interventions with a focus on preventative care.’