Abstract

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Background
Keywords
Findings
Author
What is already known on this subject?
What does this study add?

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Background

Few studies have examined the potential of linked administrative data for research on child health. This analysis describes the application of a non-categorical survey-based tool, the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Screener, to administrative data.

Data and methods

Five Screener items were applied to linked administrative health data from Population Data British Columbia. Hospital admissions and demographic and community characteristics for a cohort of children aged 6 to 10 in 2006 were examined to validate the use of these items.

Results

Overall, 17.5% of children were identified as CSHCN. An estimated 14% of children used more medical care and 5.2% had more functional limitations than is usual for children of the same age; 3.3% were prescribed long-term medication; 1.9% needed/received treatment or counselling; and 0.1% needed/received special therapy. Boys were more likely than girls to be identified as CSHCN.

Interpretation

With some limitations, the CSHCN Screener can be applied to Canadian administrative health data.

Keywords

Child health services, children with disabilities, data linkage, medical record linkage

Findings

The increasing availability of provincial and national linked data has created opportunities to conduct health research using administrative information. Studies of children that used such data have largely focused on health service utilization or on the prevalence of specific conditions. However, categorical approaches based on specific conditions do not include the large numbers of rare conditions that have similar consequences, nor do they include children with undiagnosed conditions. Moreover, policies, programs, and interventions generally do not target specific conditions. [Full Text]

Author

Rubab G. Arim (rubab.arim@statcan.gc.ca), Dafna E. Kohen, Anne Guèvremont and Rochelle E. Garner are with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada. Jamie C. Brehaut is with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Anton R. Miller and Kimberlyn McGrail are with the University of British Columbia. Marni Brownell is with the University of Manitoba. Lucy M. Lach is with McGill University. Peter L. Rosenbaum is with McMaster University.

What is already known on this subject?

  • Studies using administrative health data to study child populations have focused on measures of pediatric health service use or on the prevalence of specific conditions.
  • Defining child health in terms of specific conditions does not reflect current theoretical and conceptual frameworks.

What does this study adds?

  • This study assesses the application of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Screener to Canadian administrative health data.
  • Administrative data can provide useful information for non-categorical definitions of child health.
  • Limitations emerged in the identification of activity restrictions, use of special therapies, and counselling for emotional and behavioural problems. In addition, health care needs, severity of the condition, and quality of life are not captured in administrative data.
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