Evid Based Spine Care J 2014; 05(02): 074-076
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1390027
Science in Spine
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Administrative Database Studies: Goldmine or Goose Chase?

Robin E. Hashimoto
1   Spectrum Research, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, United States
Erika D. Brodt
1   Spectrum Research, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, United States
Andrea C. Skelly
1   Spectrum Research, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, United States
Joseph R. Dettori
1   Spectrum Research, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, United States
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24. September 2014 (online)


There is increasing interest in the use of administrative data in health services and clinical research. Administrative data are routinely collected during clinic, hospital, laboratory, or pharmacy visits for administrative purposes.[1] Administrative databases provide easy and cheap access to large numbers of patients over expansive geographic regions. Although these databases were initially designed to reimburse health care services and to track differences in services and the use for state and national agencies, they are increasingly being used for epidemiological, effectiveness, and safety outcomes research. However, there are several limitations that must be considered, and critical appraisal of studies that utilize administrative databases is important.

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