Can caregivers report their care recipients' post-stroke hospitalizations and outpatient visits accurately? Findings of an Asian prospective stroke cohort.



Health services research aimed at understanding service use and improving resource allocation often relies on collecting subjectively reported or proxy-reported healthcare service utilization (HSU) data. It is important to know the discrepancies in such self or proxy reports, as they have significant financial and policy implications. In high-dependency populations, such as stroke survivors, with varying levels of cognitive impairment and dysphasia, caregivers are often potential sources of stroke survivors' HSU information. Most of the work conducted on agreement analysis to date has focused on validating different sources of self-reported data, with few studies exploring the validity of caregiver-reported data. Addressing this gap, our study aimed to quantify the agreement across the caregiver-reported and national claims-based HSU of stroke patients.


A prospective study comprising multi-ethnic stroke patient and caregiver dyads (N = 485) in Singapore was the basis of the current analysis, which used linked national claims records. Caregiver-reported health services data were collected via face-to-face and telephone interviews, and similar health services data were extracted from the national claims records. The main outcome variable was the modified intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), which provided the level of agreement across both data sources. We further identified the amount of over- or under-reporting by caregivers across different service types.


We observed variations in agreement for different health services, with agreement across caregiver reports and national claims records being the highest for outpatient visits (specialist and primary care), followed by hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Interestingly, caregivers over-reported hospitalizations by approximately 49% and under-reported specialist and primary care visits by approximately 20 to 30%.


The accuracy of the caregiver-reported HSU of stroke patients varies across different service types. Relatively more objective data sources, such as national claims records, should be considered as a first choice for quantifying health care usage before considering caregiver-reported usage. Caregiver-reported outpatient service use was relatively more accurate than inpatient service use over shorter recall periods. Therefore, in situations where objective data sources are limited, caregiver-reported outpatient information can be considered for low volumes of healthcare consumption, using an appropriate correction to account for potential under-reporting.





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Publication Info

Tyagi, Shilpa, Gerald Choon-Huat Koh, Nan Luo, Kelvin Bryan Tan, Helen Hoenig, David B Matchar, Joanne Yoong, Eric A Finkelstein, et al. (2018). Can caregivers report their care recipients' post-stroke hospitalizations and outpatient visits accurately? Findings of an Asian prospective stroke cohort. BMC health services research, 18(1). p. 817. 10.1186/s12913-018-3634-4 Retrieved from

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Helen Marie Hoenig

Professor of Medicine
  1. General Focus and Goals of Research: Dr. Hoenig's research focuses on rehabilitation, and more specifically on assistive technology and teletechnology. Patient populations of interest include geriatric patients with diverse medical problems including stroke, spinal and/or musculoskeletal disorders.

    2. Specific Approaches or Techniques: Randomized controlled trials, epidemiological studies including large data base analyses and survey research. Clinical trials include studies of the effects of motorized scooters in persons with difficulty walking, methods for providing wheelchairs, and telerehabilitation for exercise & functional mobility training in the home. Epidemiological studies and survey research have examined use of assistive technology and other coping strategies to disability.

    4. Special areas of expertise/national recognition: Rehabilitation health services research, geriatric rehabilitation, assistive technology outcomes, telerehabilitation.

    KEY WORDS/PHRASES: Rehabilitation, Process and Outcomes Research, Assistive Technology, Telehealth, Activities of Daily Living, Geriatrics, Disability.

David Bruce Matchar

Professor of Medicine

My research relates to clinical practice improvement - from the development of clinical policies to their implementation in real world clinical settings. Most recently my major content focus has been cerebrovascular disease. Other major clinical areas in which I work include the range of disabling neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer prevention.
Notable features of my work are: (1) reliance on analytic strategies such as meta-analysis, simulation, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis; (2) a balancing of methodological rigor the needs of medical professionals; and (3) dependence on interdisciplinary groups of experts.
This approach is best illustrated by the Stroke Prevention Patient Outcome Research Team (PORT), for which I served as principal investigator. Funded by the AHCPR, the PORT involved 35 investigators at 13 institutions. The Stroke PORT has been highly productive and has led to a stroke prevention project funded as a public/private partnership by the AHCPR and DuPont Pharma, the Managing Anticoagulation Services Trial (MAST). MAST is a practice improvement trial in 6 managed care organizations, focussing on optimizing anticoagulation for individuals with atrial fibrillation.
I serve as consultant in the general area of analytic strategies for clinical policy development, as well as for specific projects related to stroke (e.g., acute stroke treatment, management of atrial fibrillation, and use of carotid endarterectomy.) I have worked with AHCPR (now AHRQ), ACP, AHA, AAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NSA, WHO, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Key Words: clinical policy, disease management, stroke, decision analysis, clinical guidelines


Eric Andrew Finkelstein

Professor in Population Health Sciences

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