Matching prosthetics order records in VA National Prosthetics Patient Database to healthcare utilization databases

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(8):725-37. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2009.07.0098.


The National Prosthetics Patient Database (NPPD) is the national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dataset that records characteristics of individual prosthetic and assistive devices. It remains unknown how well NPPD records can be matched to encounter records for the same individuals in major VA utilization databases. We compared the count of prosthetics records in the NPPD with the count of prosthetics-related procedures for the same individuals recorded in major VA utilization databases. We then attempted to match the NPPD records to the utilization records by person and date. In general, 40% to 60% of the NPPD records could be matched to outpatient utilization records within a 14-day window around the NPPD dataset entry date. Match rates for inpatient data were lower: 10% to 16% within a 14-day window. The NPPD will be particularly important for studies of certain veteran groups, such as those with spinal cord injury or blast-related polytraumatic injury. Health services researchers should use both the NPPD and utilization databases to develop a full understanding of prosthetics use by individual patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Veterans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Self-Help Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self-Help Devices / supply & distribution
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data