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Empirical evidence of recall bias for primary health care visits

Brusco, Natasha Kareem and Watts, Jennifer J. 2015, Empirical evidence of recall bias for primary health care visits, BMC health services research, vol. 15, Article Number : 381, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-1039-1.

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Title Empirical evidence of recall bias for primary health care visits
Author(s) Brusco, Natasha Kareem
Watts, Jennifer J.ORCID iD for Watts, Jennifer J. orcid.org/0000-0001-8095-8638
Journal name BMC health services research
Volume number 15
Season Article Number : 381
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1472-6963
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Health Care Sciences & Services
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
LENGTH-OF-STAY
SERVICES
FOLLOW
Summary BACKGROUND: While it is common for an economic evaluation of health care to rely on trial participants for self-reported health service utilisation, there is variability in the accuracy of this data due to potential recall bias. The aim of this study was to quantify the level of recall bias in self-reported primary health care general practitioner (GP) visits following inpatient rehabilitation over a 12 month period.

METHODS: This report is a secondary analysis from a larger randomised control trial of an economic evaluation of additional Saturday inpatient rehabilitation. Participants were adults who had been discharged into the community following admission to an acute general rehabilitation hospital. Participants were asked to recall primary health care visits, including community GP visits, via a telephone questionnaire which was administered at 6 and 12 months following discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Participants were asked to recall health service utilisation over each preceding 6 month period. The self-reported data were compared to equivalent claims data from the national insurer, over the same period.

RESULTS: 751 participants (75% of the full trial) with a mean age of 74 years (SD 13) were included in this analysis. Over the 12 month period following discharge from rehabilitation there was an under-reporting of 14% in self-reported health service utilisation for GP visits compared to national insurer claims data over the same period. From 0 to 6 months following discharge from rehabilitation, there was an over-reporting of self-reported GP visits of 35% and from 7 to 12 months there was an under-reporting of self-reported GP visits of 36%, compared to national insurer claims data over the same period. 46% of patients reported the same or one number difference in self-reported GP visits between the 0 to 6 and the 7 to 12 month periods.

CONCLUSION: Based on these findings we recommend that an economic evaluation alongside a clinical trial for an elderly adult rehabilitation population include a sensitivity analysis that inflates self-reported GP visits by 16% over 12 months. However caution is required when utilising self-reported GP visits as the data may contain periods of both over and under reporting. Where general practitioner visits are expected to vary significantly between intervention and control groups we recommend that administrative data be included in the trial to accurately capture resources for an economic evaluation.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12913-015-1039-1
Field of Research 140208 Health Economics
1117 Public Health And Health Services
0807 Library And Information Studies
Socio Economic Objective 920207 Health Policy Economic Outcomes
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30078916

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.