How accurate are self-reports? Analysis of self-reported health care utilization and absence when compared with administrative data

J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Jul;51(7):786-96. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181a86671.


Objective: To determine the accuracy of self-reported health care utilization and absence reported on health risk assessments against administrative claims and human resource records.

Methods: Self-reported values of health care utilization and absenteeism were analyzed for concordance to administrative claims values. Percent agreement, Pearson's correlations, and multivariate logistic regression models examined the level of agreement and characteristics of participants with concordance.

Results: Self-report and administrative data showed greater concordance for monthly compared with yearly health care utilization metrics. Percent agreement ranged from 30% to 99% with annual doctor visits having the lowest percent agreement. Younger people, males, those with higher education, and healthier individuals more accurately reported their health care utilization and absenteeism.

Conclusions: Self-reported health care utilization and absenteeism may be used as a proxy when medical claims and administrative data are unavailable, particularly for shorter recall periods.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Disclosure*