Developed as part of the National Care for the Elderly Programme (NPO), TOPICS-MDS is a uniform, national database on the health and wellbeing of the older persons and caregivers who participated in NPO-funded projects. TOPICS-MDS Consortium has gained extensive experience in constructing a standardized questionnaire to collect relevant health care data on quality of life, health services utilization, and informal care use. A proactive approach has been undertaken not only to ensure the standardization and validation of instruments but also the infrastructure for external data requests. Efforts have been made to promote scientifically and socially responsible use of TOPICS-MDS; data has been available for secondary use since early 2014. Through this data sharing initiative, researchers can explore health issues in a broader framework which may have not been possible within individual NPO projects; this broader framework is highly relevant for influencing health policy. In this article, we provide an overview of the development and on-going progress of TOPICS-MDS. We further describe how information derived from TOPICS-MDS can be applied to facilitate future scientific innovations and public health initiatives to improve care for frail older persons and their caregivers.

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Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Brink, D, Lutomski, J.E, Qin, L, den Elzen, W.P.J, Kempen, G.I.J.M, Krabbe, P.F.M, … Melis, R.J.F. (2015). TOPICS-MDS: a versatile resource for generating scientific and social knowledge for elderly care. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 46(2), 78–91. doi:10.1007/s12439-015-0127-3