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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2016

Methodological issues on the use of administrative data in healthcare research: the case of heart failure hospitalizations in Lombardy region, 2000 to 2012

Zeitschrift:
BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2016
Autoren:
Cristina Mazzali, Anna Maria Paganoni, Francesca Ieva, Cristina Masella, Mauro Maistrello, Ornella Agostoni, Simonetta Scalvini, Maria Frigerio, On behalf of the HF Data Project

Abstract

Background

Administrative data are increasingly used in healthcare research. However, in order to avoid biases, their use requires careful study planning. This paper describes the methodological principles and criteria used in a study on epidemiology, outcomes and process of care of patients hospitalized for heart failure (HF) in the largest Italian Region, from 2000 to 2012.

Methods

Data were extracted from the administrative data warehouse of the healthcare system of Lombardy, Italy. Hospital discharge forms with HF-related diagnosis codes were the basis for identifying HF hospitalizations as clinical events, or episodes. In patients experiencing at least one HF event, hospitalizations for any cause, outpatient services utilization, and drug prescriptions were also analyzed.

Results

Seven hundred one thousand, seven hundred one heart failure events involving 371,766 patients were recorded from 2000 to 2012. Once all the healthcare services provided to these patients after the first HF event had been joined together, the study database totalled about 91 million records. Principles, criteria and tips utilized in order to minimize errors and characterize some relevant subgroups are described.

Conclusions

The methodology of this study could represent the basis for future research and could be applied in similar studies concerning epidemiology, trend analysis, and healthcare resources utilization.
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