A new paper from a research partnership between Guy’s & St Thomas’​ Foundation, King’s College London and Outcomes Based Healthcare on ‘Identifying populations with chronic pain in primary care: developing an algorithm and logic rules applied to coded primary care diagnostic and medication data’ has been published in BMC Primary Care.

Estimates of chronic pain prevalence using coded primary care data have previously been lower than rates reported in community surveys. Our aim was to develop and test an algorithm combining medication codes with selected diagnostic codes to estimate chronic pain prevalence using coded primary care data. The resulting algorithm for chronic pain – based on four overarching criteria – was run on primary care data from 41 GP Practices in Lambeth (total population of 386,238 GP registered adults). The study found 16.6% (64,135) were identified as people with chronic pain. This definition demonstrated notably high rates in Black ethnicity females, and higher rates in the most deprived, and older population.

Our study demonstrates that it may be possible to establish more representative prevalence estimates using structured data than has been previously achieved. The use of logic rules therefore offers the potential to move systematic identification and population-based management of chronic pain into mainstream clinical practice at scale, and subsequently support improved management of symptom burden for people experiencing chronic pain.

Read the full article here: https://bmcprimcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12875-023-02134-1