Using 5-byte Read codes

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The structure of READ codes allows almost anything to be coded in thecomputer record. It does mean, however, that we must be rigid about our codingstructure to allow complete and accurate database search results

Record should be coded according to the following structure

Symptoms Chapter 1
Examination Chapter 2
Investigations Chapters 3-8
Administrative Chapter 9
Diagnoses Chapters A-S
Medication Chapters a to s
  • Note that READ codes are case sensitive (ie “a” is NOT the same as “A”)
  • For “working” diagnoses when a definitive diagnosis is not yet established, use chapter R (symptoms signs and ill-defined conditions) rather than chapter 1 (chapter 1 should only be used for describing symptoms, whereas chapter R should be used for working diagnoses.

READ abbreviatons

OS Other specified: Only use when a definitive code is not available (rare!).
NOS Not otherwise specified: Only use when a definitive code is not available (rare!).
EC Elsewhere classified: Classified elsewhere in code, usually referring to an underlying cause of a particular disorder.
NEC Not elsewhere classified: No matching sub classification
SO Site of: For determining site of an operation.
D Diagnosis: Chapter R codes for working diagnoses when a specific diagnosis is not yet ascertained.
M Morphology of neoplasms: Subchapter BB of READ codes.
V Supplementary factors influencing health status, but not including illness: e.g. “normal pregnancy”.

You do not need to learn codes to use the Read code system (although it cansometimes make it quicker to use). Type in the term which you wish to code, anduse the pick lists to focus in further. How quickly you reach your desired termdepends on what you type eg: for acute frontal sinusitis, you will get theappropriate term more quickly by typing front than acute. Typing the first 3letters often gives the quickest results.

READ code chapter headings

Chapter Contents
0 Occupations
1 History/symptoms
2 Examination/signs
3 Diagnostic procedures
4 Laboratory procedures
5 Radiology/medical physics
6 Preventative procedures
7 Operations and procedures
8 Other therapeutic procedures
9 Administration
Chapter Contents
A Infectious/parasitic diseases
B Neoplasms
C Endocrine/metabolic
D Blood diseases
E Mental disorders
F Nervous system/senses
G Circulatory system
H Respiratory system
J Digestive system
K Genito-urinarysystem
L Pregnancy/childbirth/puerperium
M Skin/subcutaneous tissue
N Musculoskeletal
P Congenital anomalies
Q Perinatal conditions
R Ill-definedconditions/working diagnoses
S Injury/poisoning
T Causes of injury/poisoning
en English
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