Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 8, 2010
   Pages 739 — 750

Abstract — VHA Corporate Data Warehouse height and weight data: Opportunities and challenges for health services research

Polly Hitchcock Noël, PhD;1-2* Laurel A. Copeland, PhD;1-2 Ruth A. Perrin, MA;3-4 A. Elizabeth Lancaster, BS;5 Mary Jo Pugh, RN, PhD;1-2 Chen-Pin Wang, PhD;1-2 Mary J. Bollinger, MPH;1 Helen P. Hazuda, PhD2

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX; 2University of Texas, Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; 3Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Hines, IL; 4VA Information Resource Center, Hines, IL; 5Veterans Health Administration Support Service Center, Washington, DC

Abstract — Within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), anthropometric measurements entered into the electronic medical record are stored in local information systems, the national Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), and in some regional data warehouses. This article describes efforts to examine the quality of weight and height data within the CDW and to compare CDW data with data from warehouses maintained by several of VHA's regional groupings of healthcare facilities (Veterans Integrated Service Networks [VISNs]). We found significantly fewer recorded heights than weights in both the CDW and VISN data sources. In spite of occasional anomalies, the concordance in the number and value of records in the CDW and the VISN warehouses was generally 97% to 99% or greater. Implausible variation in same-day and same-year heights and weights was noted, suggesting measurement or data-entry errors. Our work suggests that the CDW, over time and through validation, has become a generally reliable source of anthropometric data. Researchers should assess the reliability of data contained within any source and apply strategies to minimize the impact of data errors appropriate to their study population.

Key words: anthropometric measurements, body mass index, data error, electronic medical record, height, obesity, rehabilitation, secondary data, veterans, Veterans Health Administration, weight.


This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Noël PH, Copeland LA, Perrin RA, Lancaster AE, Pugh MJ, Wang C-P, Bollinger MJ, Hazuda HP. VHA Corporate Data Warehouse height and weight data: Opportunities and challenges for health services research. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(8):793-50. DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2009.08.0110
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