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Recent advances in Australia mean that it is possible to link national clinical registries with government held administrative datasets. However, formal evaluations of such activities and the potential impact for research are lacking.
Objectives and Approach
We aimed to assess the feasibility and accuracy of linking registrants from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (AuSCR) with the Medicare enrolment file. Following data custodian and ethics approvals, personal linkage identifiers were submitted to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). De-identified data from AuSCR and the AIHW were submitted into the Secure Unified Research Environment and merged using project specific person-based IDs. We calculated the proportion of patients linked with the Medicare enrolment file that were present in the associated Medicare and medication dispensing datasets and the proportion with claims after their date of death. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with a non-merged patient.
17,980 AuSCR registrants (January 2010-July 2014) were submitted for linkage (median age 76 years; 46% female; 67% ischaemic stroke; 16% TIA). Of these, 93% were merged with Medicare (N=16,648) and 95% with subsidised medication dispensing claims data (N=17,079). In those who died, 127 (0.8%) had one or more Medicare claim and 411 (2.4%) had one or more medications dispensed after their death date. Asian born registrants were less likely to be merged with Medicare (adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR]: 0.54; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.40, 0.72) than Australian born registrants. Those aged ≥85 years were less likely to be merged with Medicare data than those aged <65 years (aOR 0.24; 95% CI: 0.19, 0.29) but were more likely to be merged with dispensing data (aOR: 2.22 (95% CI: 1.73, 2.84).
Linkage between a national clinical quality registry and the Medicare spine is feasible. These linkages will provide novel insights into post-stroke care.
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