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A language of health in action: Read Codes, classifications and groupings.

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NHS Centre for Coding and Classification, England.


A cornerstone of the Information Management and Technology Strategy of the National Health Service's (NHS) Executive is fully operational, person-based clinical information systems, from which flow all of the data needed for direct and indirect care of patients by healthcare providers, and local and national management of the NHS. The currency of these data flows are firstly Read-coded clinical terms, secondly the classifications, the International, Classification of Disease and Health Related Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) and The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys Classification of Surgical Operations and Procedures, 4th Revision (OPCS-4), and thirdly Healthcare Resource Groups and Health Benefit Groups, all of which together are called the "language of health", an essential element of the electronic clinical record. This paper briefly describes the three main constituents of the language, and how, together with person-based, fully operational clinical information systems, it enables more effective and efficient healthcare delivery. It also describes how the remaining projects of the IM&T Strategy complete the key components necessary to provide the systems that will enable the flow of person-based data, collected once at the point of care and shared amongst all legitimate users via the electronic patient record.

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