Intended for healthcare professionals


Commentary: Use of registries to investigate the past and develop the future

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 14 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2826
  1. Stefan James, associate professor1,
  2. Jean-Claude Daubert, professor of cardiology2,
  3. Frans Van de Werf, professor3
  1. 1Uppsala Clinical Research Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2University of Rennes 1-CHU Rennes, France
  3. 3Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to: S James stefan.james{at}

Ideally, collection of clinical data should be an integral part of healthcare systems. Without systematic collection of individual patient data and outcome it is impossible for individual doctors, healthcare providers, or regulatory agencies to understand how, when, and to whom healthcare is provided and the actual outcome of specific procedures or devices. Furthermore, complications of new devices or strategies, particularly those that are unexpected or infrequent, may be impossible to identify without systematic data collection in a registry.

As well as complications, a registry can identify and limit use of new treatments outside that for which they were clinically approved. For example, drug eluting stents were primarily used for off label indications during 2005-6. New treatments may also be underused because of financial barriers, insufficient training, or lack of confidence among doctors. A continuous registry may be able to identify such underuse and provide arguments for additional resources or more training .

Registries should always aim for consecutive enrolment of patients from a large …

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