Brussels, 11 May 2004
The Irish Minister for Health and Children, Micheàl Martin, called for a European standard for data collection and analysis in cardiology at the European meeting on Cardiology Audit and Registration Data Standards (CARDS), taking place in Cork, Ireland, on 10 and 11 May.
The Irish Presidency has identified cardiovascular disease as a priority, and has correspondingly launched a series of initiatives to deal with the increasing problem in Europe. Following EU enlargement, this topic has became even more relevant as many of the new Member States have particular challenges in this area of public health.
'The European Union provides an ideal forum for Member States to discuss and agree areas of common concern. In health, a key area of commonality is cardiovascular disease - Europe's most prolific killer and largest cause of illness,' stated Mr Martin
'While existing cardiology databases share similar aims, there is no European agreement on which variables to collect in specific service locations and no agreed definitions for most of the data fields. As a consequence, the important benefits of collation and comparison of data from different sources are lost. This CARDS conference sets out to agree European data standards, to provide a basis for the collection of comparable data in cardiology databases and registries,' Mr Martin explained.
A common standard of data collection will enable healthcare professionals to compare their approach to treatment with other Member States and improve it where necessary.
Data standards will be developed in three areas, namely: acute coronary syndromes, coronary interventions and electrophysiology. Mr Martin explained that analysis of the data will allow each Member State to recognise trends in the treatment of heart attacks. It will then be possible to effectively compare the findings with data collected in other European countries.
Professor Jean-Pierre Bassand, President of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) explained that 'the standardisation of database criteria is crucial to enabling comparisons, whether on a regional, national or international level. National or regional variations in data standards limit the ability to compare and contrast the data collected.'
CARDS will enable medical societies to develop uniform data registries, agreed upon by physicians, healthcare administrations and the medical industry across the 25 Member States of the European Union.