The goals of the DPCP surveillance system are to provide a broader picture of the burden of diabetes in Massachusetts and to assist with the planning and evaluation of DPCP programs.

Understanding the nature and distribution of diabetes and its complications in the population is important for agencies and organizations striving to control the burden of disease. The DPCP obtains statistics from existing sources that provide data on diabetes trends. These data can be used to formulate policy, target interventions, identify barriers to care, and evaluate progress in preventing and controlling the disease.

The main elements of the current surveillance system include the following data sources:

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS): The DPCP funds the CDC 12-question diabetes module of the BRFSS.

  • Mortality Records: Data from state death certificates are used to calculate mortality rates using diabetes both as an underlying cause of death or as a mentioned condition on the death certificate.

  • Birth Records: Data from state birth certificates are used to monitor the incidence of diabetic pregnancies.

  • Uniform Hospital Discharge Data: Information from all hospital discharges is reported to the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. These data are used to monitor hospitalizations for diabetes as a primary diagnosis or as an associated diagnosis.

  • Preventable Hospitalization Data: A special subset of Hospital Discharge data is used to monitor 25 ambulatory conditions, including diabetes, for which most hospitalizations are considered preventable.

  • Massachusetts Blindness Register: By law, providers must report every person newly diagnosed as blind to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. Data are used to monitor diabetes-related blindness.

  • End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network of New England: By law, providers must report every person diagnosed with ESRD to the regional network. Data are used to monitor the incidence of diabetes-related ESRD.


This information is provided by Diabetes Prevention and Control Program within the Department of Public Health.