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A comparison of Australian chronic disease prevalence estimates using administrative pharmaceutical dispensing data with international and community survey data

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Introduction: Chronic disease (CD) is a leading cause of population mortality, illness and disability. Identification of CD using administrative data is increasingly used and may have utility in monitoring population health. Pharmaceutical administrative data using World Health Organization Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical Codification (ATC) assigned to prescribed medicines may offer an improved method to define persons with certain CD and enable the calculation of population prevalence.   Objective: To assess the feasibility of Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) dispensing data to provide realistic measures of chronic disease prevalence using ATC codification and compare values with international data using similar ATC methodology and Australian community surveys.   Methods: Twenty-two chronic diseases were identified using World Health Organization (WHO) formulated ATC codes assigned to treatments received and recorded in a PBS database. Distinct treatment episodes prescribed to individuals were counted annually for prevalence estimates. Comparisons were then made with estimates from international studies using pharmaceutical data and published Australian community surveys.   Results: PBS prevalence estimates for a range of chronic diseases listed in European studies and Australian community surveys demonstrated good correlation (r > .83, p < .001). PBS estimates of the prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, dyslipidemia, and respiratory disease with comparable Australian National Health Survey data by age groupings (>45 years) showed correlations of between (r = 0.82 - 0.99, p < .001) and a range of percentage difference of -15% to 77%. However, other conditions such as psychological disease and migraine showed greater disparity and correlated less well.   Conclusions: Although not without limitations, Australian administrative pharmaceutical dispensing data may provide an alternative perspective on population health and a useful resource to estimate the prevalence of a number of chronic diseases within the Australian population.

History

Publication Date

11/12/2020

Journal

International Journal of Population Data Science

Volume

5

Issue

1

Article Number

36

Pagination

11p. (p. 1-11)

Publisher

Swansea University

ISSN

2399-4908

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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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