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New ESC research database - Atlas of Cardiology

ESC Congress News 2015 - London

The ESC has taken the first steps in developing a unique database which will be readily available to ESC constituent bodies, national and international authorities, and others involved in cardiac care. The European-wide database - termed the ESC Atlas of Cardiology - is in two parts with a variety of quantitative data and descriptive information aimed at the improvement of decision-making and policy in cardiology.

The first part focuses on the economic, political, demographic and health policy status in each of the ESC countries considered. The data have been collected by ESC staff from international sources. The second part contains variables on the number of physicians, hospitals, beds, laboratories, interventions, services and reimbursement practices specifically for cardiology in each individual country. This information is collected by the national cardiac societies and transferred to the ESC Policy Unit, whose staff complete data quality controls, literature searches, country specific reports, and country comparative analyses.

Behind the initiative lies the aim of modern health care systems to guarantee equal and timely access to safe and cost-effective services, which demands new skills and data.

The newly founded European Heart Institute in Brussels was developed to deal with such considerations of health policy, economics and management in cardiology. The Atlas of Cardiology was one of the first initiatives in this framework.

Its data may be used by the ESC or independent authorised users to compare countries, study patterns and identify associations between various variables. It may also be combined with data from the ESC registries to study how system characteristics may influence clinical care and practice. The data can further be used in health technology assessment, market research, pipeline economic analysis and actuarial analyses for public or private insurance agencies.

The data and descriptive information have now been validated and uploaded on an internet site, the E-Atlas, to which authorised users may have access. There is also a standardised 25-page profile with standard 20-slide presentation for each country with all the available information and data. Finally, there is a report with summary comparative data and regression analyses investigating associations between system characteristics and policies and cardiac care resources, throughputs and outcomes.