Research to improve people's health


The International Journal of Epidemiology publishes the profile of the SIDIAP database

The Information System for Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) is a primary care database of the entire population that was created to provide a useful tool for health research. SIDIAP includes data from 328 primary care centers managed by the Catalan Institute of Health in Catalonia and pseudonymised data from more than 8 million people.


The International Journal of Epidemiology is a bimonthly medical journal covering research in epidemiology. It is the official journal of the International Epidemiological Association and is published by Oxford University Press. In its latest issue, it includes a platform profile SIDIAP where the available data and its characteristics are described.

General representation of the Catalan population

The data available in SIDIAP are representative of the general population of Catalonia in terms of age, gender and geographical distribution. In addition, it includes high-quality data on demographics, all-cause mortality, disease diagnoses, prescription and dispensing of drugs, laboratory tests, socioeconomic indicators, vaccinations, lifestyle information, parent-child bonding, and clinical parameters. , among others. SIDIAP can link on a project-by-project basis with other data sources, such as hospital discharges, mental health centers, or disease-specific registries.

The SIDIAP is updated every 6 months and the mean follow-up time for the population is currently 15.5 years. It manages data from 328 primary care centers that cover 5.8 million people, 75% of the population residing in Catalonia (the remaining 25% is distributed among other providers whose services are contracted by the Department of Health).

Researchers from public institutions can request access to the data if they meet certain requirements specified on the platform's website.

Where does the data come from?

The SIDIAP database includes data routinely collected by more than 30,000 ICS professionals. During the 1990s, ICS created a computer program called Primary Care Clinical Station (e-CAP) for recording information during primary care visits in a structured format that has been in use since 2005. In 2010, ICS and IDIAPJGol created SIDIAP, which included data collected through the e-CAP program since 2006. SIDIAP was designed to provide a valid and reliable database of information selected from electronic health records of patients for research.

Currently, the database contains information on 8,036,948 people, of which 5,801,280 (72.2%) were still active as of June 30, 2021.

Use of information

SIDIAP data has been widely used by national and international institutions to generate real-world evidence. A non-exhaustive list of 223 peer-reviewed published articles and 306 projects (of which 37 are still ongoing) using the SIDIAP database is available on the SIDIAP website (, tabs 'Projects' and 'Dissemination'). These publications cover a wide range of research topics such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory problems, cancer, mental health, multimorbidity, COVID-19, vaccinations; and research areas such as pharmacoepidemiology, safety evaluation and comparative efficacy research, disease characterization, drug utilization, disease time trends, health economics, and service evaluation health, among others.

Who can access SIDIAP?

Any researcher can request SIDIAP data to carry out a study. Before granting access to data, a five-step procedure is performed:

  1. The investigator(s) must send a request (standardized form available at and study protocol) to the SIDIAP team;
  2. The request must be approved by the SIDIAP Scientific Committee that evaluates the scientific quality and feasibility of the proposal;
  3. The study protocol must be approved by the IDIAPJGol Clinical Research Ethics Committee;
  4. The principal investigator of the study must sign a Good Practices form and, in some cases, an agreement between the parties is necessary;
  5. A meeting is organized between the research team and the SIDIAP team to discuss the procedures and establish the data extraction.

Access to the data is limited to researchers from public organisations, although collaboration with private institutions is possible when a study is required by a regulatory agency or for non-commercial studies within a European project funded by the European Commission.

Article reference:

Data Resource Profile: The Information System for Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP)Martina Recalde, Clara Rodríguez, Edward Burn, Marc Far, Darío García, Jordi Carrere-Molina, Mencia Benítez, Anna Moleras, Andrea Pistillo, Bonaventura Bolíbar, María Aragón, Talita Duarte-Salles.