Making a difference in recording diabetes data: problems and solutions


Place of the SRP Project

Amsterdam UMC, location Vumc/AMC, Department of Internal medicine



Diabetes mellitus is a serious disease with a huge impact. The Netherlands alone has 1,2 million diabetes patients, who have a high rate of comorbidity such as heart attacks, a lower life expectancy, and a decreased quality of life. Because of obesity and aging, these numbers will rise in the near future. A part of these patients has regular check-ups in hospitals (in so-called outpatient clinics) for their diabetes and complications. It is not known how many diabetes outpatients there exactly are, we only have an estimate of 185.000 patients. We also do not know for sure how many complications they have, and what the burden on health care is. This is why in 2017, the Dutch Pediatric and Adult Registry of Diabetes (DPARD) was founded in the Netherlands. DPARD gathers reliable information on prevalence, complications, comorbidity, treatment effects, and quality of care among all diabetes patients treated at outpatient clinics across the Netherlands. At this moment, 20.000 patients from seven hospitals have been included, and sixteen hospitals more are in the process of participating.


Patient data are extracted directly from the electronic health records and gathered in a batch. This batch is sent to the data processing company Medical Research Data Management (MRDM), which gathers, encrypts, and distributes the data back to the hospitals, which keep ownership of their data. This method ensures efficient use of data by one-time registration in electronic health records and multiple use afterwards. This process is a time consuming and complex process which requires intensive involvement of many people in each hospital. Most is asked from the local Information Technologists, who are so busy with many other pursuits that the connection process of DPARD often does not have priority. This leads to stagnation of the connection process of DPARD. To ensure further growth of DPARD, it is important to ease this batch generating process for local hospitals.


Description of the SRP Project/Problem

The goal is to assess the exact problems that Information Technologists of local hospitals face when connecting diabetes data within electronic health records to collect a batch suitable for DPARD. The second step is to formulate possible solutions. Thus, this scientific project will both theoretical by conducting a literature study on what is known on this subject, and also practical by visiting local hospitals and addressing their problems. After assessing problems, solutions will be implemented.

This project will result in a thesis, describing a study with an observational design with appropriate statistical analyses. Supervision of the project is excellent, transportation and a stipend are provided.


Research questions

  1. What are the problems that Information Technologists in local hospitals face when connecting the electronic health records to the Dutch national diabetes registry?
  2. What are possible solutions to these problems and how can these solutions be implemented?


Expected results

At the end of the project, a thesis meeting all requirements (English, maximum 3500 words, containing an abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion) will be written. The ultimate aim is to merge the thesis into an article suitable for an international scientific journal, and to render the student with an authorship.


Time period flexible, preferably January – August 2020



Dr. C.L. Verheugt, MD PhD, department of Internal Medicine, Amsterdam UMC, location AMC



Drs. J.C.G. Bak, MD, department of Internal Medicine, Amsterdam UMC, location Vumc




  • Amsterdam UMC, location Vumc/AMC
  • Amsterdam