How do primary care doctors in England and Wales code and manage people with chronic kidney disease? Results from the National Chronic Kidney Disease Audit.

07 Dec 2017

Background: In the UK, primary care records are electronic and require doctors to ascribe disease codes to direct care plans and facilitate safe prescribing. We investigated factors associated with coding of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients with reduced kidney function and the impact this has on patient management. Methods: We identified patients meeting biochemical criteria for CKD (two estimated glomerular filtration rates <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 taken >90 days apart) from 1039 general practitioner (GP) practices in a UK audit. Clustered logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with coding for CKD and improvement in coding as a result of the audit process. We investigated the relationship between coding and five interventions recommended for CKD: achieving blood pressure targets, proteinuria testing, statin prescription and flu and pneumococcal vaccination. Results: Of 256 000 patients with biochemical CKD, 30% did not have a GP CKD code. Males, older patients, those with more severe CKD, diabetes or hypertension or those prescribed statins were more likely to have a CKD code. Among those with continued biochemical CKD following audit, these same characteristics increased the odds of improved coding. Patients without any kidney diagnosis were less likely to receive optimal care than those coded for CKD [e.g. odds ratio for meeting blood pressure target 0.78 (95% confidence interval 0.76-0.79)]. Conclusion: Older age, male sex, diabetes and hypertension are associated with coding for those with biochemical CKD. CKD coding is associated with receiving key primary care interventions recommended for CKD. Increased efforts to incentivize CKD coding may improve outcomes for CKD patients.