Databases in the Asia-pacific region: The potential for a distributed network approach

Edward Chia Cheng Lai, Kenneth K.C. Man, Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Ching Lan Cheng, Hsu Chih Chien, Celine S.L. Chui, Piyameth Dilokthornsakul, N. Chantelle Hardy, Cheng Yang Hsieh, Chung Y. Hsu, Kiyoshi Kubota, Tzu Chieh Lin, Yanfang Liu, Byung Joo Park, Nicole Pratt, Elizabeth E. Roughead, Ju Young Shin, Sawaeng Watcharathanakij, Jin Wen, Ian C.K. Wong & 3 others

Publication Date: 10/01/2015

Background: This study describes the availability and characteristics of databases in Asian-Pacific countries and assesses the feasibility of a distributed network approach in the region. Methods: A web-based survey was conducted among investigators using healthcare databases in the Asia-Pacific countries. Potential survey participants were identified through the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network. Results: Investigators from a total of 11 databases participated in the survey. Database sources included four nationwide claims databases from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan; two nationwide electronic health records from Hong Kong and Singapore; a regional electronic health record from western China; two electronic health records from Thailand; and cancer and stroke registries from Taiwan. Conclusions: We identified 11 databases with capabilities for distributed network approaches. Many country-specific coding systems and terminologies have been already converted to international coding systems. The harmonization of health expenditure data is a major obstacle for future investigations attempting to evaluate issues related to medical costs.