The validation of interviews for estimating morbidity

Henry Kalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Health interview surveys have been widely used to measure morbidity in developing countries, particularly for infectious diseases. Structured questionnaires using algorithms which derive sign/symptom-based diagnoses seem to be the most reliable but there have been few studies to validate them. The purpose of validation is to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of brief algorithms (combinations of signs/ symptoms) which can then be used for the rapid assessment of community health problems. Validation requires a comparison with an external standard such as physician or serological diagnoses. There are several potential pitfalls in assessing validity, such as selection bias, differences in populations and the pattern of diseases in study populations compared to the community. Validation studies conducted in the community may overcome bias caused by case selection. Health centre derived estimates can be adjusted and applied to the community with caution. Further study is needed to validate algorithms for important diseases in different cultural settings. Community-based studies need to be conducted, and the utility of derived algorithms for tracking disease frequency explored further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Education
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)

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