Medical registries provide highly reliable data, challenged hierarchically only by randomized controlled trials. Although registries have been used in several fields of medicine for more than a century and a half, their key role is frequently overlooked and poorly recognized. Medical registries have evolved from calculating basic epidemiological data (incidence, prevalence, mortality) to diverse applications in disease prevention, early diagnosis and screening programs, treatment response, health care planning, decision making and disease control programs. Implementing, maintaining and running a medical registry requires substantial effort. Developing the registry represents a complex task and is one of the major barriers in widespread use of registries. Medical registries have potential to evolve to a next generation by taking benefit from recent semantic web technology developments. This paper is aimed at providing a summary of the basic information available on medical registries and to highlight the progress and potential applications in this field.


registries, data accuracy, quality assurance, health care, registries/standards, public health