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Prevalence Models from Darlington
The public health intelligence unit in Doncaster have produced a tool to analyse prevalence data at the practice level. Models have been developed for all of the disease areas based on deprivation, sex and age. Most impressively this includes all of the new areas in the current year such as obesity and atrial fibrillation. This is delivered as an Excel spreadsheet and contains a deprivation measurement for every local authority in England along with instructions for producing more accurate figures for individual practices. This is certainly the first attempt that I have seen to model the QOF areas systematically. They don't claim too much for these models as they have developed from the literature and their correspondence with the QOF areas does not seem to have been fully tested. It is also not clear how much practice prevalence would be expected to be explained by these social factors. In statistical terms it would be interesting to know what the residual variance is at a national level. This is not to put down their achievement, which is considerable, but rather that there is quite a lot of opportunity for further work. They report that updates are likely, although not assured. Which leads me to one of my pet rants. As a spreadsheet there is no terribly easy way to upgrade. If all of your data is in one place then cutting and pasting it into the new version might work. However the lack of logic/data separation in spreadsheets make this by no means guaranteed. There is of course not a lot of other choice when it comes to simple application delivery though. Delivering databases is no easier and there is, as yet, no way for external applications to directly access QMAS. Perhaps tools like this would help to drive some demand.