Building a population-based diabetes register: An Italian experience

Paola Ballotari, Sofia Chiatamone Ranieri, Massimo Vicentini, Stefania Caroli, Andrea Gardini, Rossella Rodolfi, Roberto Crucco, Marina Greci, Valeria Manicardi, Paolo Giorgi Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To describe the methodology used to set up the Reggio Emilia (northern Italy) Diabetes Register. The prevalence estimates on December 31st, 2009 are also provided. Methods: The Diabetes Register covers all residents in the Reggio Emilia province. The register was created by deterministic linkage of six routinely collected data sources through a definite algorithm able to ascertain cases and to distinguish type of diabetes and model of care: Hospital Discharge, Drug Dispensation, Biochemistry Laboratory, Disease-specific Exemption, Diabetes Outpatient Clinics, and Mortality databases. Using these data, we estimated crude prevalence on December 31st, 2009 by sex, age groups, and type of diabetes. Results: There were 25,425 ascertained prevalent cases on December 31st, 2009. Drug Dispensation and Exemption databases made the greatest contribution to prevalence. Analyzing overlapping sources, more than 80% of cases were reported by at least two sources. Crude prevalence was 4.8% and 5.9% for the whole population and for people aged 18 years and over, respectively. Males accounted for 53.6%. Type 1 diabetes accounted for 3.8% of cases, while people with Type 2 diabetes were the overriding majority (91.2%), and Diabetes Outpatient Clinics treated 75.4% of people with Type 2 diabetes. Conclusion: The Register is able to quantify the burden of disease, the first step in planning, implementing, and monitoring appropriate interventions. All data sources contributed to completeness and/or accuracy of the Register. Although all cases are identified by deterministic record linkage, manual revision and General Practitioner involvement are still necessary when information is insufficient or conflicting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Chronic disease management
  • Diabetes
  • Population-based register
  • Prevalence
  • Record linkage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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