Background: Computerized Clinical Records, which are incorporated in primary health care practice, have great potential for research. In order to use this information, data quality and reliability must be assessed to prevent compromising the validity of the results.The aim of this study is to validate the diagnosis of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in the computerized clinical records of primary health care, taking the diagnosis criteria established in the most prominently used clinical guidelines as the gold standard against which what measure the sensitivity, specificity, and determine the predictive values.The gold standard for diabetes mellitus was the diagnostic criteria established in 2003 American Diabetes Association Consensus Statement for diabetic subjects. The gold standard for hypertension was the diagnostic criteria established in the Joint National Committee published in 2003.
Methods: A cross-sectional multicentre validation study of diabetes mellitus and hypertension diagnoses in computerized clinical records of primary health care was carried out. Diagnostic criteria from the most prominently clinical practice guidelines were considered for standard reference.Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and global agreement (with kappa index), were calculated. Results were shown overall and stratified by sex and age groups.
Results: The agreement for diabetes mellitus with the reference standard as determined by the guideline was almost perfect (κ=0.990), with a sensitivity of 99.53%, a specificity of 99.49%, a positive predictive value of 91.23% and a negative predictive value of 99.98%.Hypertension diagnosis showed substantial agreement with the reference standard as determined by the guideline (κ=0.778), the sensitivity was 85.22%, the specificity 96.95%, the positive predictive value 85.24%, and the negative predictive value was 96.95%. Sensitivity results were worse in patients who also had diabetes and in those aged 70 years or over.
Conclusions: Our results substantiate the validity of using diagnoses of diabetes and hypertension found within the computerized clinical records for epidemiologic studies.