Administrative Data Systems

2. Introduction

Electronic data from health related business transactions, whether billing-related or clinical information, are increasingly used by public health and social science investigators in advancing our understanding of the determinants of health services utilization and the outcomes of services provided to different population groups.

Over the past 5 decades, data systems constructed from health related transactions have become increasingly complex, linking:

  • Records about the same individuals over extended periods of time;
  • Individuals’ utilization hierarchicallyof medical service providers and the geographic areas in which those individuals are situated; and 
  • Surveys of the health and health behaviors of representative samples with medical care transaction data and vital statistics information, greatly enhancing the range of questions that can be addressed with these surveys.