Verberne, L., Nielen, M., Leemrijse, C., Verheij, R., Friele, R.
Recording of weight in electronic health records of general practices.
BMC Family Practice, 19 (2018) 174,
Background: Routine weight recording in electronic health records (EHRs) could assist general practitioners (GPs) in the identification, prevention, and management of overweight patients. However, the extent to which weight management is embedded in general practice in the Netherlands has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of weight recording in general practice in the Netherlands for patients who self-reported as being overweight. The specific objectives of this study were to assess whether weight recording
varied according to patient characteristics, and to determine the frequency of weight recording over time for patients with and without a chronic condition related to being overweight.

Methods: Baseline data from the Occupational and Environmental Health Cohort Study (2012) were combined with data from EHRs of general practices (2012–2015). Data concerned 3446 self-reported overweight patients who visited their GP in 2012, and 1516 patients who visited their GP every year between 2012 and 2015. Logistic multilevel regression analyses were performed to identify associations between patient characteristics and weight recording.

Results: In 2012, weight was recorded in the EHRs of a quarter of patients who self-reported as being overweight. Greater age, lower education level, higher self-reported body mass index, and the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and/or cardiovascular disorders were associated with higher rates of weight recording. The strongest association was found for diabetes mellitus (adjusted OR = 10.3; 95% CI [7.3, 14.5]). Between 2012 and 2015, 90% of patients with diabetes mellitus had at least one weight measurement recorded in their EHR. In the group of patients without a chronic condition related to being overweight, this percentage was
33%.

Conclusions: Weight was frequently recorded for overweight patients with a chronic condition, for whom regular weight measurement is recommended in clinical guidelines, and for which weight recording is a performance indicator as part of the payment system. For younger patients and those without a chronic condition related to being overweight, weight was less frequently recorded. For these patients, routine recording of weight in EHRs deserves more attention, with the aim to support early recognition and treatment of overweight. (aut. ref.)