Encounter databases

Tobias Gerhard, Yola Moride, Anton Pottegård, Nicole Pratt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Encounter databases contain electronic records of healthcare encounters for large, defined populations. They capture information on patient characteristics, prescription fills, and medical services, as part of the routine administration or reimbursement of healthcare. Encounter databases exist in many countries and within a number of vastly different healthcare systems; an increasing number is becoming available for research. Although they vary markedly in their specific characteristics, encounter databases share a number of defining features that warrant their discussion as a group. This chapter provides a description of key commonalities and distinctions across encounter databases, illustrated with selected examples and supplemented by references to more comprehensive resources in the literature. This is followed by a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of encounter databases and the considerations faced by researchers when they evaluate the suitability of a specific encounter database for a given research question or face a choice among multiple encounter databases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPharmacoepidemiology
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781119413431
ISBN (Print)9781119413417
StatePublished - Oct 21 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


  • Administrative data
  • Claims data
  • Encounter data
  • Health insurance
  • Healthcare databases
  • Observational research
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Pharmacy data
  • Population based


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