Background: The Alberta Kidney Disease Network is a collaborative nephrology research organization based on a central repository of laboratory and administrative data from the Canadian province of Alberta.
Description: The laboratory data within the Alberta Kidney Disease Network can be used to define patient populations, such as individuals with chronic kidney disease (using serum creatinine measurements to estimate kidney function) or anemia (using hemoglobin measurements). The administrative data within the Alberta Kidney Disease Network can also be used to define cohorts with common medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Linkage of data sources permits assessment of socio-demographic information, clinical variables including comorbidity, as well as ascertainment of relevant outcomes such as health service encounters and events, the occurrence of new specified clinical outcomes and mortality.
Conclusion: The unique ability to combine laboratory and administrative data for a large geographically defined population provides a rich data source not only for research purposes but for policy development and to guide the delivery of health care. This research model based on computerized laboratory data could serve as a prototype for the study of other chronic conditions.