Every encounter starts with coding the Reason for Encounter (RFE). This is the spontaneous statement of the patient on why they visit the care provider. This reflects the initial presentation of the illness. This statement precedes the interaction between patient and GP and precedes the GP’s interpretation. FaMe-Net routinely and systematically registers all RFEs in all encounters.
The RFE(s) can be presented as a symptom (e.g. abdominal pain, a rash, cough), but also as a self-diagnosed or suspected disease (‘I’ve got the flu’; ‘I think I have migraine’; ‘I hope it’s not pneumonia again’) or a request for a particular intervention (‘I would like to have a blood test’). When multiple RFEs are presented, all are registered. The RFE(s) should be recognised by the patient as an acceptable description of the demand for care. RFE registration enables research studying associations between RFE and (final) diagnosis. RFEs have important prognostic value, for example in diagnosing cancer. RFEs are coded according to the ICPC-2.
Since 2016, the duration of the RFE (the duration between the start of the complaint and the GP encounter) is also coded in every encounter.