It would seem that constant universal aggregation of treatment data, including all diagnoses made (and how they were made) and all treatments used (drugs, amounts, therapies, even diet) would offer continual validation of treatments, highlight developing problems quickly, and help us spot any unnoticed useful treatment vectors.

Immediately privacy leaps to mind as the concern. But couldn't such a system be setup to automatically aggregate this data while maintaining privacy? Or allow waivers?

All I know is that here in America, we're obviously far from such a system. In recent visits, it does seem many large health networks are now moving towards electronic information keeping, but the systems don't sound like they are completely built out, such that practitioners could quickly pull up current statistics or comparisons on any situations/drugs combination options they are looking to use. Indeed the US is mostly considered behind in certain practices. So do such widespread national data systems exist in other parts of the world?

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There are actually a variety of publicly available databases that include many different aspects of the types of data that you are looking for. For example, a database produced by AHRQ, known as the National Inpatient Sample (NIS), includes data on hundreds of millions of inpatient visits by patients. It includes data on length of stay, ICU admission, diagnosis, procedures completed, complications, and mortality. You can learn more about using this deidentified, HIPAA-compliant database here: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/

Another national data system is the Medicare database, that includes similar information for the portion of the population that is covered by Medicare. Learn more here: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/research-statistics-data-and-systems.html

The US is ahead of much of the world in collecting such advanced data on a variety of health topics. This so-called Health Services Research is actually a hot topic in medicine with many papers published in just the past ten years. Major data systems exist elsewhere, including Canada, Finland, and many others. You can do a straightforward Google search to discover more.

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