The acute cohort – a solid foundation for research

The Region of Southern Denmark’s population of 1.2 million Danes generates 240,000 contacts with the region’s acute departments every year. This provides a unique opportunity for research in emergency medicine.

When patients present acutely to Odense University Hospital or one of the Region’s other four acute hospitals, they are registered in a system that at the same time forms the backbone of a joint research database.

What was the patient’s condition on arrival? What results did the first basic tests and measurements provide? This initial information is linked up to the later laboratory results and blood cultures, and then to the Civil Registration System and the National Patient Registry.

 Unique Danish registers

– The acute cohort is a huge database that allows us to see exactly what happens from the moment a patient arrives from their own doctor, emergency doctor or ambulance, until the patient is discharged from hospital and in the weeks or years after discharge, explains Annmarie Touborg Lassen, professor and consultant in the Department of Acute Medicine at Odense University Hospital.

– We have information on the diagnosis and how often the patient has been hospitalized, and we can also follow the patient’s progress after admission. We can only do this because of the unique records we have in Denmark, which make us the envy of many researchers in emergency medicine in other countries.

The right team must be ready

All the information that is gathered provides material for both current and future research projects that will help to ensure that patients are correctly diagnosed as quickly as possible.

– We already do well today, says Annmarie Touborg Lassen. – But our experiences from our daily work and from research projects tell us that we can do even better, by making adjustments in the acute treatment we provide.

– One of our goals is that we always have the right team ready the moment the patient arrives at the hospital. And one way towards this goal is to analyze the data in the acute cohort.

The finest we can provide

– The acute cohort gives an opportunity to investigate what we call common problems, continues Annmarie Touborg Lassen. But the data also provide information about patients with less common diseases, and disorders that require highly specialized assistance from other parts of the hospital.

– In short, the use of evidence-based knowledge will make us even better at diagnosing and treating acute patients. And that is the finest goal we can have.

/Helene Dambo

The Research Unit at the Department of Acute Medicine currently has eight PhD students working on projects that involve various collaborative partners from the University of Southern Denmark.

Acute cohort of Southern Denmark

Odense University Hospital and the four acute hospitals in the Region of Southern Denmark provide data to the acute cohort of Southern Denmark, which covers a population of 1.2 million.

The other acute admission centres are at Southwest Jutland Hospital in Esbjerg, South Jutland Hospital in Aabenraa, Lillebaelt Hospital in Kolding and Svendborg Hospital (that has joint administration with Odense University Hospital).