Age/sex registries in primary care research

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Age/sex registries have been examined as a method of estimating the number of individuals served by a primary care practice. These data can be used in estimating disease frequency from primary care encounter data. The experience with age/sex registries in the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network (ASPN) has identified three major sources of error when registry data are used to estimate disease rates: (1) studies using medical encounter data exclude those individuals who do not seek medical care, (2) visitation is not random and is a function of variables in addition to disease incidence, and (3) encounter data from primary care practices are incomplete due to reporting problems and patient-initiated visits to other health care providers. Despite these limitations, age/sex registries can provide a practical tool for estimating disease rates in appropriate settings, assessing the generalizability of results, and assessing the feasibility of studies in practice based research. Further research about age/sex registries is needed to improve disease rate estimation as well as to better define methods. An age/sex registry enumerates a population by age and sex categories. Such a registry of the patients cared for by a medical practice represents a useful tool for practice based research. This paper briefly reviews the background of age/sex registries in North America, describes the experience of the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network with age/sex registries, identifies problems in using age/sex registries to provide denominator data for disease frequency estimation, and explores other uses for age/sex registry data
Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Ambulatory, Ambulatory Care Information Systems, ASPN, better, Child, Child,Preschool, data, Disease, Female, Health, health care, Humans, Incidence, Infant, Infant,Newborn, Information Systems, Male, medical, Methods, Middle Aged, North America, Paper, patient, Patients, population, primary care, Primary Health Care, provider, Registries, Research, Research Support, review, Sex Factors, support