The electronic frailty index as an indicator of community healthcare service utilisation in the older population

Penelope J. Boyd, Matthew Nevard, John A. Ford, Mizanur Khondoker, Jane L. Cross, Chris Fox

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Background: older people with frailty are particularly high users of healthcare services, however a lack of standardised recording of frailty in different healthcare electronic datasets has limited investigations into healthcare service usage and demand of the older frail population.
Objectives: to investigate the community service demand of frail patients using the electronic frailty index (eFI) as a measure of frailty.
Study design and setting: a retrospective cohort study using anonymised linked healthcare patient data from primary care, community services and acute hospitals in Norfolk.
Participants: patients aged 65 and over who had an eFI assessment score established in their primary care electronic patient record in Norwich based General Practices.
Results: we include data from 22,859 patients with an eFI score. Frailty severity increased with age and was associated with increased acute hospital admission within a 6-month window. Patients with a frail eFI score were also more likely to have a community service referral within a 6-month window of frailty assessment, with a RR of 1.84 (1.76–1.93) for mild frailty, 1.96 (1.83–2.09) for moderate frailty and 2.95 (2.76–3.14) for severe frailty scores. We also found that frail patients had more community referrals per patient then those classified as fit and required more care plans per community referral.
Conclusions: eFI score was an indicator of community service use, with increasing severity of frailty being associated with higher community healthcare requirements. The eFI may help planning of community services for the frail population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273–277
Number of pages5
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number2
Early online date27 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • community care
  • electronic frailty index
  • electronic health record
  • frailty
  • older people
  • service use

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