Data Quality in the Ontario Midwifery Program Database, 2006 to 2009

Adriana Cappelletti, BHSc, Angela H. Reitsma, RM, MSc, Julia Simioni, MSc, Jordyn Horne, BSc, Caroline McGregor, BSc, Rashid J. Ahmed, BSc, and Eileen K. Hutton, PhD

Objective: To identify common errors in midwifery data collection and provide midwives with the rationales behind data cleaning, the importance of reliable data, and the links between data collection, research studies, and evidence-based care.
Methods: A database containing records of all women who received midwifery care in Ontario that was invoiced to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2009, was obtained. Data cleaning was performed to assure that the data set was as complete and accurate as possible. Duplicate records were identified and removed. Missing, inconsistent, and implausible data were identified and corrected where possible or removed.
Results: Common data errors included inappropriate use of open text fields and drop-down menus, incorrect interpretation of “planned place of birth,” reporting of outcomes that should be mutually exclusive, and reporting of incorrect, incomplete, or missing information.
Discussion: Midwives have an important role in the collection of health information that is complete and accurate. Several common errors were identified that, if corrected, would improve the quality of midwifery data and in turn would contribute to high‐quality research, which will inform midwifery practice, policy‐makers, and women and their families about midwifery care.

midwifery, data collection, Ontario, database, data quality

This article has been peer reviewed.


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