The Read Code Demonstrator
CD-ROM Version

March 1997

A personal review by Rod Ward - 18.4.97

This is an interactive demonstrator containing version 3 of the Reed Codes.

Installation of the full version (recommended) was problematic under Win 95 and requires 240+ Mb of hard disc space.

A minimal install (accessing the data on CD) worked under Win 3.1.

There is limited supporting documentation available, but it not very easy to understand and use.

The front screen uses an office and filling cabinet graphic to pint users to various functions & sections - once beyond this initial screen the program is far from intuitive. Instructions/explanations are given at the bottom of each screen, however a fairly extensive knowledge of the principles underlying the Read Codes and the use of dialogue boxes would be required for the user to be able to get much benefit.

Terms which relate to patient conditions or episodes are displayed with "picking lists" of concepts & attributes, these can be selected and summaries, discharge letters etc. constructed. Although a function is available to map these to ICD-9/10 & OPCS, however these did not all appear to be present in the version I reviewed.

In many areas dialogue boxes must be closed before other functions can be selected.

A wide range of medical conditions and interventions are listed, but I could find no reference to the nursing thesaurus & codes which has recently been completed.

Because of the difficulty in use and limited relevance to nursing - I would not recommend the use of this demonstrator, in it's present form, for pre-registration nurse education. It may be more relevant for staff in coding departments, or those undertaking post registration specialist courses in this area.

Copies of the demonstrator & documentation are available from;

The Central Support team,
NHS Centre for Coding and Classification,
Loughborough LE11 2TG
Tel: 01509 211411

More useful for Nurse Education is the Open learning Pack "Terms Records and Information"

This provides "An introduction to using computerised information and the Read Coded Clinical Terms in nursing, midwifery and health visiting practice"

The pack contains;

Guidelines for teaching sessions

Introductory unit

Unit 1 - Information in clinical practice

Unit 2 - Representing clinical information for use in computers

Unit 3 - Practical application of the Read Thesaurus

Evaluation form

The units present information and use small group exercises to get the students to explore the background to the project, what is information, what people do with information, value of information in the health service, quality of information, using computers to manage clinical information, + problems, the nursing, midwifery & HV terms project.

It is generally well set out & in manageable chunks to be included in a teaching session.

The material could be used with 2nd or 3rd year students on the Adv. Dip or with students undertaking post basic courses.

Page Created: 20.4.97

Page last updated: 3.9.03