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1.  Estimating the completeness of physician billing claims for diabetes case ascertainment using population-based prescription drug data 
Changes in physician reimbursement policies may hinder the collection of billing claims in administrative data; this can result in biased estimates of disease prevalence and incidence. However, the magnitude of data loss is largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to estimate completeness of capture of disease cases for Manitoba physicians paid by fee-for-service (FFS) and non-fee-for-service (NFFS) methods.
Manitoba’s administrative data were used to identify a cohort (≥ 20 years) with a new diabetes medication between 1 April, 2007, and 31 March, 2009. Cohort members were classified by payment method of the prescribing physician (i.e. FFS vs. NFFS). The cohort was then classified as missing or not missing a diabetes diagnosis using physician claims and hospital records. Then, χ2 statistics were used to test for differences in the characteristics of the two groups.
The cohort consisted of 12 394 individuals; 86.4% had a prescription for a diabetes medication from an FFS physician. A total of 1172 physicians (81.8% FFS) prescribed these medications for the cohort. Cohort members with a prescription from an FFS physician were older and more likely to reside in the urban Winnipeg health region than those with a prescription from a NFFS physician. A greater percentage of NFFS physicians’ cases were missing a diabetes diagnosis (18.7% vs. 14.9% for FFS physicians).
The results suggest minimal loss of physician claims associated with remuneration policies in Manitoba. This method of assessing data completeness could be applied to other chronic diseases and jurisdictions to estimate completeness.
PMCID: PMC4910418  PMID: 26959724
chronic disease; medical records; surveillance; data quality
2.  Breast and cervical cancer screening behaviours among colorectal cancer survivors in Nova Scotia 
Current Oncology  2014;21(5):e670-e677.
We analyzed patterns and factors associated with receipt of breast and cervical cancer screening in a cohort of colorectal cancer survivors.
Individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Nova Scotia between January 2001 and December 2005 were eligible for inclusion. Receipt of breast and cervical cancer screening was determined using administrative data. General-population age restrictions were used in the analysis (breast: 40–69 years; cervical: 21–75 years). Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess time to first screen.
Of 318 and 443 colorectal cancer survivors eligible for the breast and cervical cancer screening analysis respectively, 30.1% [95% confidence interval (ci): 21.2% to 39.0%] never received screening mammography, and 47.9% (95% ci: 37.8% to 58.0%) never received cervical cancer screening during the study period. Receipt of screening before the colorectal cancer diagnosis was strongly associated with receipt of screening after diagnosis (hazard ratio for breast cancer screening: 4.71; 95% ci: 3.42 to 6.51; hazard ratio for cervical cancer screening: 6.83; 95% ci: 4.58 to 10.16).
Many colorectal cancer survivors within general-population screening age recommendations did not receive breast and cervical cancer screening. Future research should focus on survivors who meet age recommendations for population-based cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC4189571  PMID: 25302037
Cancer screening; early detection of cancer; neoplasms; second primary; cancer survivorship
3.  Trends in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to document changes in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 in an effort to observe, at the population level, the consequences of the availability of new antihypertensive medications. METHODS: The study population comprised a random sample of Halifax County residents, aged 25-64 years, who responded to the 1985 and 1995 surveys of the Halifax County MONICA Project and residents who responded to the Nova Scotia Health Survey conducted in 1995. Data from the two 1995 surveys were pooled. Information on hypertension awareness and use of medication were obtained through questionnaires, and blood pressure was measured according to a standard protocol, using phase I and V of Korotkoff sounds as respective markers for systolic and diastolic pressures. Uncontrolled hypertension was defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater. Changes in the prevalence of hypertension, prescribing trends and medication costs were examined, and the association between the type of antihypertensive treatment and characteristics of the respondents with self-reported hypertension was investigated by multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Of the 917 people interviewed in 1985 and the 1338 in 1995, 274 (29.9%) and 356 (26.6%), respectively, reported a history of hypertension. When age was controlled for, the proportion of respondents reporting hypertension did not differ between survey years or between men and women. The proportion of treated respondents who had uncontrolled hypertension increased between 1985 and 1995, from 32.6% to 57.4% among men and from 38.0% to 42.6% among women. An increase was seen in the use of calcium-channel blockers (from 2.1% to 19.7%) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (from 5.2% to 25.4%); the proportion of patients receiving combination therapy or diuretics decreased (from 39.6% to 15.6% and from 31.3% to 17.2% respectively). These changes were associated with an increase in the average daily cost of medication from $0.48 to $0.85 per patient. INTERPRETATION: The shift to new antihypertensive drugs was not associated with improved blood pressure control, but it was associated with an increase in average medication costs per patient. Uncontrolled hypertension remains a public health problem.
PMCID: PMC1230618  PMID: 10513276

Results 1-3 (3)