VHA Corporate Data Warehouse height and weight data: opportunities and challenges for health services research

J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(8):739-50. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2009.08.0110.


Within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), anthropometric measurements entered into the electronic medical record are stored in local information systems, the national Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW), and in some regional data warehouses. This article describes efforts to examine the quality of weight and height data within the CDW and to compare CDW data with data from warehouses maintained by several of VHA's regional groupings of healthcare facilities (Veterans Integrated Service Networks [VISNs]). We found significantly fewer recorded heights than weights in both the CDW and VISN data sources. In spite of occasional anomalies, the concordance in the number and value of records in the CDW and the VISN warehouses was generally 97% to 99% or greater. Implausible variation in same-day and same-year heights and weights was noted, suggesting measurement or data-entry errors. Our work suggests that the CDW, over time and through validation, has become a generally reliable source of anthropometric data. Researchers should assess the reliability of data contained within any source and apply strategies to minimize the impact of data errors appropriate to their study population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / organization & administration
  • Veterans Health