Objectives: To explore the utility of combining health information systems from the Valencia Health Agency to characterize folate supplementation in pregnant women in the autonomous region of Valencia (Spain).
Methods: The cohort comprised women who gave birth during 2009 in hospitals within the Valencian Health Agency. These women were retrospectively followed-up using ABUCASIS electronic medical records and the GAIA electronic prescription system to identify folate consumption in the 3 months before and after conception.
Results: In 2009, there were 38,069 births in hospitals of the Valencian Health Agency, of which 37,040 (97.3%) were included for analysis. In 34% of women, at least one folate dispensation was registered with an official prescription form within the periconceptional period (6.6% in the 3 months prior to conception). Dispensation with an official prescription form was associated with older women, free pharmaceutical prescriptions, birth in Spain, antiepileptic medications, and a diagnosis of diabetes. Eight percent of women (23.6% of the folate-treated women) received folates at high doses.
Conclusions: Folate consumption during pregnancy is systematically under-registered by healthcare information systems because health professionals do not use the official prescription form for prescription and dispensation. Database linkage is an inadequate approach to assess folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
Copyright © 2011 SESPAS. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.