Details of Publication 565 for Project A254A:

Hure A, Chojenta C, Powers J, Byles J & Loxton D. Validity and Reliability of Stillbirth Data Using Linked Self-Reported and Administrative Datasets. J Epidemiol, 2015; 25(1): 30-37

Background: A high rate of stillbirth was previously observed in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (ALSWH). Our primary objective was to test the validity and reliability of self-reported stillbirth data linked to state-based administrative datasets.Methods: Self-reported data, collected as part of the ALSWH cohort born in 1973–1978, were linked to three administrative datasets for women in New South Wales, Australia (n = 4374): the Midwives Data Collection; Admitted Patient Data Collection; and Perinatal Death Review Database. Linkages were obtained from the Centre forHealth Record Linkage for the period 1996–2009. True cases of stillbirth were defined by being consistently recorded in two or more independent data sources. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, percent agreement, and kappa statistics were calculated for each dataset.Results: Forty-nine women reported 53 stillbirths. No dataset was 100% accurate. The administrative datasets performed better than self-reported data, with high accuracy and agreement. Self-reported data showed high sensitivity (100%) but low specificity (30%), meaning women who had a stillbirth always reported it, but there wasalso over-reporting of stillbirths. About half of the misreported cases in the ALSWH were able to be removed by identifying inconsistencies in longitudinal data.Conclusions: Data linkage provides great opportunity to assess the validity and reliability of self-reported study data. Conversely, self-reported study data can help to resolve inconsistencies in administrative datasets. Quantifying the strengths and limitations of both self-reported and administrative data can improve epidemiological research, especially by guiding methods and interpretation of findings.