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Fam Pract. 1992 Sep;9(3):330-9.

International primary care classifications: the effect of fifteen years of evolution.

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Department of General Practice, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To better understand the development of primary care classifications over the past 15 years, 10 primary care databases have been retrospectively analysed using the structure of the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) as the basis. All datasets were based on routine data collection using different classification systems by several family physicians during all encounters with their patients over considerable periods of time, in most cases one year. The prevalences or the rates of the available diagnostic--and reason for encounter--classes were distributed over four frequencies. With a few exceptions the distribution of diagnostic labels referring to common diseases is surprisingly similar. The use of ICPC however results in a quantum leap in the use of symptom and complaint diagnoses. Because of this shift primary care physicians now have available a classification with 400 diagnostic classes used with a prevalence of > or = 1/1000 patient-years or per 1000 visiting patients per year. The classification of reasons for encounter allows the physician to identify over 300 reasons for encounter used > or = 1/1000 patient years or per 1000 visiting patients per year. Family physicians have been successful in the development of new primary care classifications. Rag bag rubrics which are the result of the structure of ICPC are used relatively often and deserve more attention from primary care taxonomers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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