Where does our data come from?

Our health data is almost exclusively derived from the health registers which are continuously maintained by the countries.

To get full benefit from data, it is important to know how it is created.

The Nordic countries have a strong documentation basis, and strong, central statistical authorities. Payment of public benefits is also carefully registered, which forms the basis of much of our data.

In addition, the presence of personal id-numbers in the Nordic countries is a major strength. This enables the grouping of benefits and treatment by sex and age, and enables detailed register based research at a level which is globally unique.

Our health data is almost exclusively derived from the health registers which are continuously maintained by the countries. This creates a very strong basis in certain areas, but also brings limitations.

The most important source of knowledge on health and disease is hospital data. All the countries have big, national registers of treatments in and discharges from hospitals. We are therefore able to say a lot about what is treated in hospitals. This is an obvious indicator of illnesses present in the population. In addition there are registers for occurrence of specific diseases – the national cancer registers being the most obvious example.

However, not all diseases are treated in hospitals. Many patients receive treatment from physicians in the primary sector, and are therefore not listed in the registers. The primary sector is an area where better data is often wished for, but for most of the countries this has so far proven difficult.

Our social data is very much based on legislation. We compare benefits at different social events between countries, and these benefits are defined by law. We carry out calculations on these benefits, in order to be able to compare between countries for typical family types, in events such as unemployment, illness or retirement.

Payment of social benefits is registered in all the countries, which is the basis of our overviews of the number of recipients. And finally numbers for social expenditure is derived from the national accounts.

In this part of the website more detailed descriptions of the creation of data will appear over the coming months.