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EUBIROD – A European diabetes database

Over 23 million adults in the EU have diabetes and a large number are believed to remain undiagnosed. With an increasing prevalence, the impact of diabetes complications is threatening health systems across Europe. The social and economic implications are enormous.

The reason for this is that people are leading more sedentary lives, their eating habits are changing and they don’t do enough exercise, if the younger generation continues like this it will increase the spread of diabetes.

It is estimated that already between 5% and 10% of total health expenditure is spent on providing healthcare for the diabetic population.

Fighting the epidemic by sharing knowledge

In order to halt the spread of the diabetes epidemic the EU Public Health Programme has funded the EUBIROD project, which aims at sharing knowledge about prevention, treatment and patient care.

Despite the large amounts of data and reports available, current information on diabetes in Europe is scattered, fragmented and, more worryingly, underutilised and undervalued. For this reason, the main outcome of the EUBIROD project is a permanent and sustainable online European Diabetes Register for standardised exchange of data and knowledge between EU countries on diabetes.

The register is currently only used by healthcare professionals but a number of ideas have been launched to eventually make this system available to all EU citizens.

Why is a national registry important?

• information is centralised

• a common dataset can be established

• it shows rates of complications

• it shows how well diabetes is being treated

• it allows for comparisons across Europe on different treatments

This innovative project was built on the results of two previous projects, EUCID and BIRO. EUCID proposed 35 core indicators on diabetes, while BIRO developed a software system that allows datasets from any computer system anywhere to be safely processed in a standardised way, producing results that are uploaded to the central registry, where it can be automatically aggregated and harmonised to produce global indicators.

Based on the success of this diabetes register and by making good use of new technology, it is envisaged that this model could in fact be extended for other chronic diseases.

More information:

Health-EU – Non-communicable diseases

European Commission – Public Health – Chronic diseases