With the widespread use of electronic medical records and administrative claims databases, analytic results from so-called real-world data have become increasingly important in healthcare decision-making. Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous condition that involves a broad spectrum of patients. Real-world database studies have been recognised as a powerful tool to understand the impact of current practices on clinical courses and outcomes, such as long-term glucose control, development of microvascular or macro-vascular diseases, and mortality. Diabetes is also a major global health issue and poses a significant social and economic burden worldwide. Therefore, it is critical to understand the epidemiology, clinical course, treatment reality, and long-term outcomes of diabetes to determine realistic solutions to a variety of disease-related issues that we are facing. In the present review, we summarise the healthcare system and large-scale databases currently available in Japan, introduce the results from recent database studies involving Japanese patients with diabetes, and discuss future opportunities and challenges for the use of databases in the management of diabetes.
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