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Is there value in using physician billing claims along with other administrative health care data to document the burden of adolescent injury? An exploratory investigation with comparison to self-reports in Ontario, Canada

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-5-15

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Abstract:

The sample included adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who participated in the 1996–1997 cross-sectional Ontario Health Survey, and whose survey responses were linked to administrative health care datasets (N = 2067). Descriptive analysis was used to document the burden of injuries as a proportion of all physician care by gender and location of care, and to examine the distribution of both administratively-defined and self-reported activity-limiting injuries according to demographic characteristics. Administratively-defined and self-reported injuries were also directly compared at the individual level.Approximately 10% of physician care for the sample was identified as injury-related. While 18.8% of adolescents had self-reported injury in the previous year, 25.0% had documented administratively-defined injury. The distribution of injuries according to demographic characteristics was similar across data sources, but congruence was low at the individual level. Possible reasons for discrepancies between the data sources included recall errors in the survey data and errors in the physician billing data algorithm.If further validated, physician billing data could be used along with hospital inpatient data to make an important and unique contribution to adolescent injury surveillance. The limitations inherent in different datasets highlight the need to continue rely on multiple information sources for complete injury surveillance information.The contribution of surveillance systems in providing valuable information for injury prevention and control is widely recognized; for example, surveillance data can be used to highlight the burden of injury, set priorities for prevention, and evaluate preventive strategies [1,2]. Estimates of the population burden of injuries differ, though, depending on how information is obtained. Detailed trauma registries and special surveillance systems [e.g., [3]] contain rich contextual information on particular subsets of injuries, but since suc

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