The Read Code Demonstrator
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
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
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
Copies of the demonstrator & documentation are available from;
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
The pack contains;
Guidelines for teaching sessions
Unit 1 - Information in clinical practice
Unit 2 - Representing clinical information for use in computers
Unit 3 - Practical application of the Read Thesaurus
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
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