Administrative data are collected by organizations and agencies expressly for the purpose of conducting administrative tasks and meeting administrative responsibilities for that organization or agency (e.g., evaluate program performance, agency accountability). These tasks and responsibilities may include contacting individuals within the system, tracking resource utilization, reporting counts to an oversight agency, and projecting trends for resource allocation. Examples of administrative data sources include health maintenance organizations, Medicare and Medicaid programs, vital records administrations, school health systems, hospitals, and health insurance providers. Although administrative data are collected through a system designed for nonresearch purposes, they can be very useful in epidemiologic research and have been used extensively for this purpose. There are, however, limitations to using administrative data in epidemiologic studies.

The most apparent advantage of ...

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