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Health Systems form Large Diabetes Registry from EHR Data

June 11, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Eleven integrated health systems, with more than 16 million members, have combined de-identified data from their electronic health records to form a diabetes registry. The registry, which is being called the largest of its kind in the U.S., can provide a unique and powerful resource to conduct population-based diabetes research and clinical trials, according to a new study published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

The registry, called the SUPREME-DM DataLink, looked at all 15,765,529 health plan members who were enrolled in the 11 participating health plans between January 2005and December 2009. Of those members, 1,085,947, or 6.9 percent, met the study criteria for diabetes, which included a single diagnosis of diabetes in the hospital or two separate diagnoses made in an outpatient setting, two elevated blood glucose tests conducted on separate occasions; or at least one diabetes drug dispense.

"The DataLink will allow us to compare more prevention and treatment strategies with a larger group of patients, which will ultimately prevent more people from getting the disease and improve care for the 25 million Americans who already have it," Greg Nichols, PhD, lead study author and senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., said in a statement.

According toJohn Steiner, MD, a co-author and senior director with the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research in Denver, the DataLink database contains an ethnically and geographically diverse population of women and men who mirror the general population with diabetes. “We can follow these patients over time and expect that what happens with our patients will also happen with patients throughout the country," he says.

The SUPREME-DM (SUrveillance, PREvention, and ManageEment of Diabetes Mellitus) DataLink includes de-identified health information from nearly 1.1 million people with diabetes in 10 states: California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington,and Wisconsin. Participating health plans include six regions of Kaiser Permanente, Geisinger Health System, Group Health Cooperative, Health Partners, Henry Ford Health System and Marshfield Clinic.

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