Usefulness of electronic databases for the detection of unrecognized diabetic patients

Vinker, Shlomo; Fogelman, Yaacov; Elhayany, Asher; Nakar, Sasson; Kahan, Ernesto
January 2003
Cardiovascular Diabetology;2003, Vol. 2, p13
Academic Journal
Background: Even mild hyperglycemia is associated with future acute and chronic complications. Nevertheless, many cases of diabetes in the community go unrecognized. The aim of the study was to determine if national electronic patient records could be used to identify patients with diabetes in a health management organization. Methods: The central district databases of Israel's largest health management organization were reviewed for all patients over 20 years old with a documented diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the chronic disease register or patient file (identified diabetic patients) or a fasting serum glucose level of >126 mg/100 ml according to the central laboratory records (suspected diabetic patients). The family physicians of the patients with suspected diabetes were asked for a report on their current diabetic status. Results: The searches yielded 1,694 suspected diabetic patients; replies from the family physicians were received for 1,486. Of these, 575 (38.7%) were confirmed to have diabetes mellitus. Their addition to the identified patient group raised the relative rate of diabetic patients in the district by 3.2%. Conclusion: Cross-referencing existing databases is an efficient, low-cost method for identifying hyperglycemic patients with unrecognized diabetes who require preventive treatment and follow-up. This model can be used to advantage in other clinical sites in Israel and elsewhere with fully computerized databases.


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