Recent Trends in Patient Registries for Health Services Research

Background: Patient registries are an established methodology in health services research. Since more than 150 years, registries collect information concerning groups of similar patients to answer research questions. Elaborated recommendations about an appropriate development and an efficient operation of registries are available. However, the scene changes rapidly.

Objectives: The aim of the study is to describe current trends in registry research for health services research.

Methods: Registries developed within a German funding scheme for model registries in health services research were analyzed. The observations were compared with recent recommendations of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on registries in the 21st century.

Results: Analyzing six registries from the funding scheme revealed the following trends: recruiting healthy individuals, representing familial or other interpersonal relationships, recording of patient-reported experiences or outcomes, accepting participants as study sites, active informing of participants, integrating the registry with other data collections, and transferring data from the registry to electronic patient records. This list partly complies with the issues discussed by the AHRQ. The AHRQ structured its ideas in five chapters, increasing focus on the patient, engaging patients as partners, digital health and patient registries, direct-to-patient registry, and registry networks.

Conclusion: For the near future, it can be said that the concept and the design of a registry should place the patient in the center. Registries will be increasingly linked together and interconnected with other data collections. New challenges arise regarding the management of data quality and the interpretation of results from less controlled settings. Here, further research related to the methodology of registries is needed.


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