STS Shares Database Experience with China

STS News, Summer 2012 -- According to the traditional Chinese calendar, 2012 is the year of the dragon. Popular myth claims that the year of the dragon is a year for great deeds, innovative ideas, and big projects. This claim held true for STS, as Fred H. Edwards, MD, Director of the STS Research Center, was recently invited to China to participate in a summit on clinical registries.

By invitation of Shengshou Hu, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and Director of the National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, as well as Chair of the Chinese Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Dr. Edwards joined representatives from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association for a strategic and tactical workshop in Beijing in April. Several high-ranking health officials from the Chinese government were in attendance to discuss implementing policy and facilitating quality improvement and research in cardiovascular disease.

“The Chinese are exploring options to develop a sophisticated national research program in cardiovascular disease. They want to generate scientific information from within their country since that information is most likely to be applicable to their unique population,” said Dr. Edwards.

Chinese policymakers are beginning to take a serious look at establishing clinical registries that will be used to establish the infrastructure and provide that scientific information for Chinese research.

“Specifically, they want to develop a national network of clinical registries. By creating their own China-specific clinical registries, Chinese physicians will be able to access data that truly reflect local patient management,” said Dr. Edwards. “The Chinese leadership was very receptive to our registry best practices and I am pleased to report that the STS National Database was often portrayed as the ‘gold-standard’ model for registries.”

He noted that the only disconnects were linked to a low use of insurance carriers in China and some differences in device surveillance.

Dr. Hu seeks to develop a team that will harmonize definitions between the STS National Database and the growing Chinese CV Surgery Database.

A follow-up meeting in China is set for 2013, and details about the initiative, as well as a possible international comparison research project, continue to be discussed.

“It’s a great opportunity for STS to be tapped for this initiative, and it speaks to the good work our STS Database has achieved since its inception,” concluded Dr. Edwards.