Nordic countries have universal, publicly funded healthcare systems that captures data from all inhabitants throughout their lives, from cradle to grave, and every event in between. Altogether, providing an unprecedented source of high-quality longitudinal data available for research.
The Nordic region consists of countries with relatively small populations ranging from Iceland (approx.300,000 inhabitants) to Sweden (approx. 10.5 million inhabitants). In total, the region has 27 million inhabitants.
In the Nordic countries, health authorities have mandatory and complete individual-level health registries that capture births, deaths, medication and vaccine usage, hospital and primary care visits, as well as a range of disease-specific registries. The registries include information about diagnoses, procedures, treatments, and for some registries, patient-reported outcomes.
The registry data can also be augmented by collecting data from electronic medical records.
In the Nordic countries there is a long tradition of setting up and maintaining consented population-based cohort studies, which provide a unique source of deeper phenotypic data.
All these data sources can be combined using the Personal Identification Number, and can be linked to sociodemographic- and immigration/emigration data to ensure a complete longitudinal follow-up.
All Nordic health data are available for researchers, following each country's approval processes, data privacy guidelines, and ethical rules.
The NordicRWE team has successfully gained approvals from registry holders and ethics committees, and has extensive experience in using Nordic health registry data in observational research, with several real-world evidence projects that are ongoing.