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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Software to spot diabetes

25th February 2008

New software has been developed by a doctor which can detect up to half a million people who may have diabetes and who may not have been identified as having the disease.

diabetes1Dr Tim Holt, according to the British Journal of General Practice, has designed the software to find patients who have abnormal blood sugar test results which have not been "followed up."

The biggest supplier of software to doctors is EMIS, who have put the software in place at every GP practice it services.

Dr Holt, from the University of Warwick, and a team at Nottingham University, identified those patients who had been tested over a year earlier and had heightened blood sugar levels, but who had not been called by their GP for further investigation.

The study looked at 3.6 million records and discovered nearly 33,000 had "borderline" results which meant they should be retested and 3,700 who showed a stronger indication that they might have diabetes.

Dr Holt explained that if every doctor used the software, they could find around 500,000 possible cases of the disease and 60,000 probable cases.

He said: "The study demonstrates the power of information technology to assist practice teams in the early detection of diabetes."

He added that doctors might not follow up elevated blood sugar test results: "for example, the doctor might be investigating another problem, and order blood tests for something else, with the 'glucose' box ticked as well."

The government is in the process of examining how to offer increased health screening at GP practices.

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