Computerized Disease Registries Offer Physicians Key to Improving Chronic Disease Care

CHCF and First Consulting Group report profiles chronic disease registries for patient tracking

Computerized disease registries are affordable and practical systems for physicians seeking to improve chronic care, according to a new report prepared for the California HealthCare Foundation by First Consulting Group (FCG). The report, Using Computerized Registries in Chronic Disease Care, examines disease registries, systems that track and manage disease-specific information for individual patients and populations. A registry is more affordable than an electronic medical record (EMR) system and is a practical tool for improving patient management.

The report provides an overview of the function and use of computerized disease registries and outlines issues for consideration in obtaining registry software and integrating registry products into the routine work of the physician practice. It is intended to help physicians, clinics, and medical groups conduct their own assessments of these tools by offering practical information including:

  • Definitions, functions, and types of registries;
  • Considerations such as cost, workflow redesign, and how to choose between a registry and an EMR; and
  • Examples of registries in use at the point of care and for population reporting.

According to author Jane Metzger, FCG research director, “Disease registries are important because as more physicians seek to improve care for patients with chronic diseases, they quickly discover that paper-based systems are inadequate and they need information technology to track their patients and provide follow-up care.”

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and coronary artery disease are the major cause of illness, disability, and death in the United States. In 2000, the medical cost of treating chronic disease amounted to 75% of health care spending.

“Inadequate management of patients with chronic diseases increases health care costs and impacts patients’ health,” said Sophia Chang, M.D., and director of CHCF’s Chronic Disease Care program. “Access to timely, accurate, and well-organized clinical data through disease registries is an important first step towards improving care for those with chronic conditions.”

Disease registries can also play a key role in quality improvement efforts such as “Pay for Performance,” a California initiative that links payment incentives with physician performance in managing patients with chronic disease. The report helps to inform those who are part of such efforts and others who are turning to technology to improve care delivery.

About First Consulting Group

FCG provides outsourcing, consulting, systems implementations and integration for health care, pharmaceutical, and other life sciences organizations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit or call 800.345.0957.

Contact Information:
Eric Antebi
Director of Communications

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.