PHARMO Database Network

The major strength of the PHARMO Database Network is that it provides rich and detailed information of more than 4 million (25%) residents of a well-defined population in the Netherlands for an average of ten years. Through yearly updates the longitudinal follow-up of individuals in the Network increases. Tailor-made and disease-specific cohorts are created from the PHARMO Database Network which are based on the cradle to grave principle. Moreover, individual medical information may even be available from before birth through linkage with the perinatal registry or by identifying mother-child relationships in the PHARMO databases. Through linkages with various healthcare databases, a complete profile of an individual’s medical history throughout life can be created, giving a complete overview of a patient’s journey. Detailed information on the methodology and the validation of the used record linkage method can be found elsewhere1,2.  If required, additional patient data can be collected by reaching out to the treating physicians, or by involving patients in reported outcomes studies.

Data collection period, catchment area and overlap between data sources differ. Therefore, the final cohort size for any study will depend on the data sources included. As data sources are linked on an annual basis, the average lag time of the data is one year.

Selecting the optimal data source for a specific study question is important. For example, biometric data recorded in the GP Database are most likely to be incomplete, and may be biased to include more information of patients with a higher risk profile (higher HbA1c, higher BMI, higher blood pressure) than the overall population, while in the Clinical Laboratory Database all results of tests performed on clinical specimens are recorded, regardless of the test results. We are happy to consult you on the optimal data source for your specific research question, click here to contact us.

  • 1. Herings R, Pedersen L. Pharmacy-based Medical Record Linkage Systems. In: Strom B, Kimmel S, editors. Pharmacoepidemiology 5ed: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.;2012. P 270-86.
  • 2. van Herk-Sukel MP, van de Poll-Franse LV, Lemmens VE, Vreugdenhil G, Pruijt JF, Coebergh JW, et al. New opportunities for drug outcomes research in cancer patients: the linkage of the Eindhoven Cancer Registry and the PHARMO Record Linkage System. Eur J Cancer. 2010;46(2):395-404.