We assessed the utility of the clinical information on the VAMP Research data bank. This data bank contains information recorded by general practitioners in the United Kingdom. We compared information derived from photocopied hospital discharge summaries and GPs' questionnaires to the information recorded in the data bank. Data were obtained on 553 discharge summaries for 452 persons registered in 269 medical practices. We found that the principal diagnosis of hospitalizations was present in the computerized records in 90.0 per cent of the time. Furthermore, 90.7 per cent of the discharge summaries for hypoglycemia were adequately recorded on the data bank, and 88.6 per cent of the data bank codes indicating hypoglycemia hospitalizations were correct. For most of the other reviewed medical conditions, we found that the sensitivity of computer notation and positive predictive value of computer codes was over 90 per cent. The agreement between computerized information on the severity of diabetes and GPs' questionnaire information was over 85 per cent. We concluded that the data in the VAMP Research data bank have a high level of completeness and validity.
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