Disease registries are a searchable list of all patients with a particular chronic condition that often interface with an electronic medical record. The well-designed registry links all members of the patient's health team and provides key information for patients and physicians. The critical impact of a registry is that it can allow timely identification of high-risk subpopulations permitting the health care team to intensify treatment. Diabetes is a data-driven disease that lends itself well to registry use. This review will examine some current registry uses and highlight some of the respective challenges and benefits. This review compares key examples of registries in different health settings. These include a municipal registry (New York City), academic health centers (Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center), third-party payers (Kaiser Permanente), the Veterans Affairs Health System, and international registries (the DIABCARE Q-NET in Europe and the National Diabetes Surveillance System in Canada). Different aspects are compared and contrasted such as the institutional plan for each and whether care in the "here and now" is impacted.