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

Reports based on medical care
In this exercise you are asked to assess the impact of provider perspectives on medical care records used for health statistics.

  1. Examine reports of Nosocomial infections, adverse reactions to vaccines, the MMWR table on sexually transmitted diseases and the HCUP reports of diagnoses and outcomes of hospital stays.
  1. What is the impact of diagnostic patterns on each of these sources of data? Consider:
    • The impact of insurance rules on diagnoses
    • The impact of public health reports—such as those appearing in the MMWR on the conditions reported by physicians.
  2. Look at the trends of reported incidents and observe how they relate to the expected life cycle of diseases and other conditions.
    • Do the reported results follow a smooth pattern or are they characterized by “humps” and “valleys?”
    • What explains these kinds of reporting patterns?
  3. How does the diagnostic patterns reflected in these reports reflect assumptions about the mechanisms of disease?