Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 178–184 | Cite as

A comparison of diagnosis capture from medical records, self-reports, and drug registrations: A study in individuals 80 years and older

  • Sven E. Nilsson
  • Boo Johansson
  • Stig Berg
  • David Karlsson
  • Gerald E. McClearn
Original Articles


Background and aims: Reports of diseases and health problems vary as a function of the information source. In the present study we compared the capture of information on morbidity using medical records, self-reports, and drug registrations. Methods: A concurrent review of medical records, self-reports, and registration of marker drugs was conducted to determine diagnosis for 44 common diseases. Diagnoses from the various sources were uniformly classified according to ICD-10. The study included a sample of 702 individuals, aged 80 and older, enrolled in population-based longitudinal studies. Results: The morbidity rates differed considerably across the used sources. Although medical records captured most of the morbidity, self-reports offered supplemental information especially for less objective health problems. Marker drugs typically confirmed information in the records, but only for a limited number of diseases. Discussion: In studies of aging and health, a thorough review of medical records and a concurrent evaluation of self-reports and marker drugs represent a valuable strategy for portraying morbidity. This strategy goes beyond the use of a single source like self-reports, and provides better estimates of health conditions in the elderly.


Aging diagnosis capture drugs use medical records self-reports 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven E. Nilsson
    • 1
  • Boo Johansson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stig Berg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David Karlsson
    • 1
  • Gerald E. McClearn
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of GerontologyUniversity College of Health SciencesJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Biobehavioral HealthPennsylvania State UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Center for Developmental Health GeneticsPennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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