REVIEW – May 2006

Nordic medical birth registers and epidemiological studies


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Epidemiological studies have been concerned with the occurrence of diseases and their risk and protective factors. Health and social welfare registers give opportunities for research, register studies take less time and money to perform. A medical birth register is a valuable source of information related to pregnancy, neonatal care and birth. Nordic countries have served as a  good example for decades in using register data in research. This paper gives an overview of the role of Nordic medical birth registers in various epidemiological studies. The Nordic experience demonstrates that data collected for administrative purposes should, could and must be used for research purposes. The main prerequisite for this is high data quality.