Health checks in primary care for adults with intellectual disabilities: How extensive should they be?

U. Chauhan, E. Kontopantelis, S. Campbell, H. Jarrett, H. Lester

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Routine health checks have gained prominence as a way of detecting unmet need in primary care for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and general practitioners are being incentivised in the UK to carry out health checks for many conditions through an incentivisation scheme known as the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). However, little is known about the data being routinely recorded in such health checks in relation to people with ID as practices are currently only incentivised to keep a register of people with ID. The aim of this study was to explore the additional value of a health check for people with ID compared with standard care provided through the current QOF structure. Methods: Representative practices were recruited using a stratified sampling approach in four primary care trusts to carry out health checks over a 6-month period. The extracted data were divided into two aggregated informational domains for the purpose of multilevel regression analysis: 'ID-specific' (containing data on visual assessment, hearing assessment, behaviour assessment, bladder function, bowel function and feeding assessment) and financially incentivised QOF targets (blood pressure, smoking status, ethnicity, body mass index, urine analysis and carer details) which are incentivised processes. Results: A total of 651 patients with ID were identified in 27 practices. Only nine practices undertook a health check on 92 of their patients with ID. Significant differences were found in the recorded information, between those who underwent a health check and those who did not (P <0.001, X2 = 56.3). In the group that had health check, recorded information was on average higher for the 'QOF targets' domain, compared with the 'ID-specific' domain, by 58.7% (95% CI: 54.1, 63.3, P <0.001). Conclusions: If incentives are to be used as a method for improving care for people with ID through health checks a more targeted approach focused on ID-specific health issues might be more appropriate than an extensive health check. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-486
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Health check
  • Incentivisation
  • Intellectual disabilities


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