Developing a non-categorical measure of child health using administrative data.
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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.
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