Using data to improve the management of diabetes – the Tayside experience
Tayside is a region in the East of Scotland and forms one of nine local government regions in the country. It is home to approximately 416,000 individuals who fall under the National Health Service Tayside (NHS Tayside) health board who provide healthcare services to the population. In Tayside, Scotland a comprehensive informatics network for diabetes care and research has been established for over 25 years, expanding more recently to a comprehensive Scotland-wide clinical care system, Scottish Care Information-Diabetesor SCI-Diabetes. This has enabled improved diabetes screening, integrated management of diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, cardiovascular health, and other comorbidities. The regional health informatics network links all these specialized services with comprehensive laboratory testing, prescribing records, general practitioner records, and hospitalization records. Not only do patients benefit from the seamless interconnectedness of these data, the Tayside bioresource has enabled considerable research opportunities and the creation of biobanks. This review describes how health informatics has been used to improve care of people diabetes in Tayside and Scotland and, through anonymized data linkage, our understanding of the phenotypic and genotypic etiology of diabetes and associated complications and co-morbidities.