Misclassification in Administrative Claims Data: Quantifying the Impact on Treatment Effect Estimates

File Size256.0 KiB
DateSeptember 16, 2015
AuthorMichele Jonsson Funk, Suzanne N Landi
Abstract: Misclassification is present in nearly every epidemiologic study, yet is rarely quantified in analysis in favor of a focus on random error. In this review, we discuss past and present wisdom on misclassification and what measures should be taken to quantify this influential bias, with a focus on bias in pharmacoepidemiologic studies. To date, pharmacoepidemiology primarily uses data obtained from administrative claims, a rich source of prescription data, but susceptible to bias from unobservable factors including medication sample use, medications filled but not taken, health conditions that are not reported in the administrative billing data, and inadequate capture of confounders. Because of the increasing focus on comparative effectiveness research, we provide a discussion of misclassification in the context of an active comparator, including a demonstration of treatment effects biased away from the null in the presence of nondifferential misclassification. Finally, we highlight recently developed methods to quantify bias and offer these methods as potential options for strengthening the validity and quantifying uncertainty of results obtained from pharmacoepidemiologic research.