Validation of drug prescription records for senior patients in Alberta's Tomorrow Project: Assessing agreement between two population-level administrative pharmaceutical databases in Alberta, Canada

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2019 Oct;28(10):1417-1421. doi: 10.1002/pds.4861. Epub 2019 Jul 26.


Purpose: To assess agreement between the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN), a newly implemented medication data repository in Alberta, Canada, and the Alberta Blue Cross (ABC) database, a long established database with medication records of all senior patients in Alberta.

Methods: PIN data (2008-2015) were cross-validated with ABC medication records for senior participants (older than 65 years old) in Alberta's Tomorrow Project (ATP), a longitudinal cohort study in Alberta. The completeness and accuracy of PIN were respectively calculated as the percentage of ABC records coexisting (concordant) in PIN and the percentage of concordant records having mutually agreeable information on drug quantity. Generalized linear models were used to examine potential association of PIN completeness and accuracy with sociodemographic factors.

Results: A total of 1 218 191 drug prescription records from 13 143 ATP participants were captured by PIN and ABC in 2008-2015, among which 91.6% were from PIN, 82.5% from ABC, and 74.2% coexisted in PIN and ABC. The overall completeness of PIN in capturing ABC medication records was 89.9%, with small variations (less than ±5%) across types of drugs. The completeness of PIN was improved on average by 1.3% annually over time (P < .001). PIN had 100% accuracy as defined by drug quantity data agreeable with ABC records. No significant associations were observed with age, sex, ethnicity, rural/urban areas, and socioeconomic status of the participants.

Conclusions: Cross-validated with the ABC dataset, our study showed that irrespective of drug type, PIN has a fairly good completeness (approximately 90%) and accuracy (100%) in capturing the ABC claimed medications for senior patients in Alberta.

Keywords: Alberta Blue Cross; Alberta's Tomorrow Project; Pharmaceutical Information Network; drug prescription records; pharmacoepidemiology; seniors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Claims, Healthcare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alberta
  • Data Management / methods*
  • Databases, Pharmaceutical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male