The Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR): A national patient-registry

V. K. Noonan, B. K. Kwon, L. Soril, M. G. Fehlings, R. J. Hurlbert, A. Townson, M. Johnson, M. F. Dvorak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Study design:Development of a prospective patient registry.Objective:To develop a patient registry for persons with traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCI), which can be used to answer research questions and improve patient outcomes.Setting:Nine provinces in Canada.Methods:The Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR) is part of the Translational Research Program of the Rick Hansen Institute. The launch of RHSCIR in 2004 heralded the initiation of the first nation-wide SCI patient registry within Canada. Currently, RHSCIR is being implemented in 14 cities located in 9 provinces, and there are over 1500 individuals who have sustained an acute traumatic SCI registered to date. Data are captured from the pre-hospital, acute and rehabilitation phases of care, and participants are followed in the community at 1, 2, 5 and then every 5 years post-injury.Results:During the development of RHSCIR, there were many challenges that were overcome in selecting data elements, establishing the governance structure, and creating a patient privacy and confidentiality framework across multiple provincial jurisdictions. The benefits of implementing a national registry are now being realized. The collection of an internationally standardized set of clinical information is helping inform clinicians of beneficial interventions and encouraging a shift towards evidence-based practices. Furthermore, through RHSCIR, a network is forming amongst SCI clinicians and researchers, which is fostering new collaborations and the launch of multi-center clinical trials.Conclusions:For networks that are establishing SCI registries, the experiences and lessons learned in the development of RHSCIR may provide useful insights and guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • outcomes
  • registry
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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