2017-03-20Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.17886/RKI-GBE-2017-022
Diabetes Surveillance in Germany – Background, concept and prospects
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that is associated with serious health problems and high costs. According to estimates gained from nationally representative health surveys conducted by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 4.6 million adults aged 18 to 79 suffer from diabetes in Germany. In addition, around 1.3 million adults have undetected diabetes. A surveillance system is currently being established at the RKI in order to gather the data sources available on diabetes in Germany and to provide reliable and comparable findings on time trends covering the frequency, progress of treatment, prevention and care of the disease. Next to identifying trends, diabetes surveillance also needs to detect differences in epidemiology that are related to social status or geographic region. Diabetes surveillance at the RKI is being undertaken in close cooperation with stakeholders involved in science, health-care provision, health policy and health-system self-governance. Furthermore, its progress is accompanied by an interdisciplinary scientific advisory board. Diabetes surveillance involves the following key elements: 1) the development of a research-based conceptual framework that uses indicators to appropriately measure developments in the disease; 2) the establishment of standards for the use of existing data sources and the identification of barriers to data usage and gaps in the data; and 3) the implementation of focused health reporting that is geared towards the target group. In addition to policy consultations, diabetes surveillance must guarantee the provision of timely and continuous information to the public together with the Federal Agency for Health Education. The implementation of a diabetes surveillance in Germany should act as a model and serve as a basis with which to establish the surveillance of other noncommunicable diseases. In principle, indicator-based diabetes monitoring at the population level can be viewed as providing the body for evidence-based policy consultation and focused health policy. In turn, this should enable the implementation of effective disease prevention measures and high-quality care for all groups within the population.
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