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Brief Report: Databases in the Asia-Pacific RegionThe Potential for a Distributed Network Approach

Lai, Edward Chia-Cheng; Man, Kenneth K. C.; Chaiyakunapruk, Nathorn; Cheng, Ching-Lan; Chien, Hsu-Chih; Chui, Celine S. L.; Dilokthornsakul, Piyameth; Hardy, N. Chantelle; Hsieh, Cheng-Yang; Hsu, Chung Y.; Kubota, Kiyoshi; Lin, Tzu-Chieh; Liu, Yanfang; Park, Byung Joo; Pratt, Nicole; Roughead, Elizabeth E.; Shin, Ju-Young; Watcharathanakij, Sawaeng; Wen, Jin; Wong, Ian C. K.; Yang, Yea-Huei Kao; Zhang, Yinghong; Setoguchi, Soko

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000325

Background: This study describes the availability and characteristics of databases in Asian-Pacific countries and assesses the feasibility of a distributed network approach in the region.

Methods: A web-based survey was conducted among investigators using healthcare databases in the Asia-Pacific countries. Potential survey participants were identified through the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network.

Results: Investigators from a total of 11 databases participated in the survey. Database sources included four nationwide claims databases from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan; two nationwide electronic health records from Hong Kong and Singapore; a regional electronic health record from western China; two electronic health records from Thailand; and cancer and stroke registries from Taiwan.

Conclusions: We identified 11 databases with capabilities for distributed network approaches. Many country-specific coding systems and terminologies have been already converted to international coding systems. The harmonization of health expenditure data is a major obstacle for future investigations attempting to evaluate issues related to medical costs.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

From the aDuke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; bSchool of Pharmacy, Institute of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan; cCentre for Safe Medication Practice and Research, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong; dSchool of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia; eCenter for Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand; fSchool of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; gSchool of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; hGraduate Institute of Clinical Medicine Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; iDepartment of Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; jDepartment of Epidemiology, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, Singapore, Singapore; kDepartment of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; lOffice of Drug Utilization Review, Korea Institute of Drug Safety and Risk Management, Seoul, South Korea; mQuality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia; nPharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ubon Ratchathani University, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand; and oInstitute of Hospital Management, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China.

Submitted 15 October 2014; accepted 22 April 2015.

The authors Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Ching-Lan Cheng, Hsu-Chih Chien, Celine S. L. Chui, Piyameth Dilokthornsakul, N. Chantelle Hardy, Cheng-Yang Hsieh, Chung Y. Hsu, Kiyoshi Kubota, Tzu-Chieh Lin, Yanfang Liu, Byung Joo Park, Nicole Pratt, Elizabeth E. Roughead, Ju-Young Shin, Sawaeng Watcharathanakij, Jin Wen, Ian C. K. Wong, Yea-Huei Kao Yang, and Yinghong Zhang contributed equally to the study.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article ( This content is not peer-reviewed or copy-edited; it is the sole responsibility of the authors.

Correspondence: Soko Setoguchi, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715.

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