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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 17 November 2007

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National Registry Of Diseases Bill passed

Source: www.moh.gov.sg

Second Reading of the National Registry Of Diseases Bill
The National Registry Of Diseases Bill
Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
INTRODUCTION
Rational healthcare policies are underpinned by accurate and timely information. For example, should we promote regular breast screening among Singaporean women? If so, for which age groups and at what frequency?
Settling such policies require robust analysis of cost-effectiveness and survival data, without which our decisions will be merely arbitrary or based on data drawn from other countries which may or may not apply to Singaporeans.
Good information is especially critical when we have to deal with diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and kidney failures that are major causes of death and morbidity among Singaporeans.
There are many ways to collect such information. We do so through periodic surveys but such data can only provide a snapshot of the prevailing situation at a particular point in time.
We need to supplement this with continuous time-series data which tracks the incidence and outcomes of the disease in the population. A well established method for gathering such information is through setting up a national disease registry.
With time-series data collected by the registry we can answer many critical health policy questions, such as:
i. What is the number of new cases of a disease every year - is it increasing or decreasing do we need to adjust the type of health services to meet this changing trend?
ii. Is the disease affecting a particular segment of the population more than others - how can we better target our prevention and treatment programmes?
iii. How do people suffering from the chronic disease fare? How long do they survive and how do we compare with other countries?
iv. Have prevention and treatment programmes made a difference?
Disease Registries
In 1968, we set up our first disease registry, which was the Singapore Cancer Registry. This was followed by the Heart Registry in 1988 and the Renal Registry in 1993. Currently, the Stroke Registry is being piloted in some public hospitals. These four registries make up our National Registry of Diseases.
A good national registry must meet two criteria.
First, it must be comprehensive i.e. it should cover all cases in the country. If a Registry misses out a significant segment of the population, this may result in under or over reporting of disease burden. For instance, it would be wrong to conclude from reports drawn from one hospital that cases of a particular disease have increased nationally.
Second, the registry must be well-maintained with close tracking of how the disease progresses over time. This requires the submission of individualised information, so that new data can be matched with existing data in the registry, thus avoiding any double-counting.
Our current disease registries suffer a major limitation as it is based on voluntary reporting. While public hospitals have been forthcoming in reporting, many private hospitals have largely not taken part.
As a result, our registries are incomplete. A major concern of the healthcare providers is the lack of clarity on the legal basis for the disclosure of individualised information to disease registries, whether they will be breaching medical confidentiality.
More.....

Source: www.moh.gov.sg News 12 Nov 2007

Related Article:
- Public consultation on proposed National Registry of Diseases Bill

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