Evaluating tools to support a new practical classification of diabetes: excellent control may represent misdiagnosis and omission from disease registers is associated with worse control

Int J Clin Pract. 2012 Sep;66(9):874-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2012.02979.x. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Aims: To conduct a service evaluation of usability and utility on-line clinical audit tools developed as part of a UK Classification of Diabetes project to improve the categorisation and ultimately management of diabetes.

Method: We conducted the evaluation in eight volunteer computerised practices all achieving maximum pay-for-performance (P4P) indicators for diabetes; two allowed direct observation and videotaping of the process of running the on-line audit. We also reported the utility of the searches and the national levels of uptake.

Results: Once launched 4235 unique visitors accessed the download pages in the first 3 months. We had feedback about problems from 10 practices, 7 were human error. Clinical audit naive staff ran the audits satisfactorily. However, they would prefer more explanation and more user-familiar tools built into their practice computerised medical record system. They wanted the people misdiagnosed and misclassified flagged and to be convinced miscoding mattered. People with T2DM misclassified as T1DM tended to be older (mean 62 vs. 47 years old). People misdiagnosed as having T2DM have apparently 'excellent' glycaemic control mean HbA1c 5.3% (34 mmol/mol) vs. 7.2% (55 mmol/mol) (p<0.001). People with vague codes not included in the P4P register (miscoded) have worse glycaemic control [HbA1c 8.1% (65 mmol/mol) SEM=0.42 vs.7.0% (53mmol/mol) SEM=0.11, p=0.006].

Conclusions: There was scope to improve diabetes management in practice achieving quality targets. Apparently 'excellent' glycaemic control may imply misdiagnosis, while miscoding is associated with worse control. On-line clinical audit toolkits provide a rapid method of dissemination and should be added to the armamentarium of quality improvement interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Audit
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / classification
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / classification
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • General Practice / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Program Evaluation
  • Registries
  • Reimbursement, Incentive
  • United Kingdom