Brief Report: Databases in the Asia-Pacific Region: The Potential for a Distributed Network Approach

Epidemiology. 2015 Nov;26(6):815-20. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000325.


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.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Clinical Coding
  • Computer Communication Networks
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Expenditures
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Japan
  • Neoplasms
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Registries*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Stroke
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand