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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

What to Consider When Using Health Statistics based on Administrative records
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Administrative records are compiled to record information about health care episodes, patients and the outcomes of their care. It is important to consider that:

An individual may have no, one or many episodes of care recorded in these systems. Therefore the statistical summaries that result from these record systems represent a universe of transactions rather than of people.

Information recorded depends on the decisions made by providers, payers and vital health authorities regarding the elements that are relevant.

The underlying records may be shaped by the socialization of those recording information regarding the nomenclature to use. As such, categorization of diseases, procedures and demographic characteristics could be influenced by changes in current factors that are deemed important for the provision of care. Typically these are influenced by changes in beliefs regarding the underlying causes of disease and the important correlates to record.
 
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