Researchers analyzing 15.8 million electronic health records contributed by 11 integrated health plans identified nearly 1.1 million people as having diabetes, and these patients' de-identified information is now part of a diabetes registry created by the plans.
The registry is the focus of an article in the latest issue
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease journal.
The health plans, combining their patients' de-identified electronic health records into a database, identified diabetic individuals by analyzing inpatient and outpatient diagnosis codes, laboratory test results and pharmaceutical distributions. The individuals who met the researchers' diabetes criteria had been diagnosed with diabetes or had received a diabetes drug or posted elevated blood glucose levels in two separate tests, according to a news release from Kaiser Permanente
, which has six regions participating in the program. The patients' information was used to form a diabetes registry called Surveillance, Prevention and Management of Diabetes Mellitus DataLink, or Supreme-DM DataLink.
"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," said Greg Nichols, lead study author and senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, in the release.
The contributing health plans included six regions of Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., as well as Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.; Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; HealthPartners, Minneapolis; Henry Ford Health System, Detroit; and Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic, according to the release. Patients were located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
The DataLink is part of a larger data-sharing project known as the Virtual Data Warehouse, which was developed by the HMO Research Network, a consortium of 19 healthcare delivery organizations that have agreed to standardize data sets from their EHRs for research purposes.
The project was funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.