There may be a potential improvement in the rates of dementia identification and diagnosis to be obtained as a result of an altered approach primary care coding. This research implies that dementia identification rates might have been be improved by 8.8% between 2011 and 2012 by a modified approach to coding. Extrapolating these improvements to dementia diagnosis rates across the UK primary care, the number of cases with dementia identified could have risen by over 70 000 from 364 329 to 434 488; thereby raising the recognition rate from 46% to 54.8%.
Implementing this coding exercise could improve recognition rates in primary care. The question remains whether a simple primary care coding exercise, requiring no specific training, would in itself translate directly into tangible improvements in patient care and access to services.
“this coding exercise would form only a part of the comprehensive whole system effort to improve dementia care and to lift diagnosis rates through initiatives such as education and training, memory service commissioning, and service improvement”. (p.4)
Russell, P. Banerjee, S. [and] Watt, J. [et al] (2013). Improving the identification of people with dementia in primary care: evaluation of the impact of primary care dementia coding guidance on identified prevalence. BMJ Open, December 23rd 2013; Volume 3, Issue 12, e004023.