Successful merging of data from the United Network for Organ Sharing and the Pediatric Health Information System databases

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Data routinely collected through United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) lack the detailed information on medical resource utilization and treatment costs required to accomplish for center-level comparisons of quality of care and cost for pediatric heart transplantation. We aimed to overcome this limitation by merging UNOS with the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) database, an administrative database containing inpatient, emergency department, ambulatory surgery, and observation unit information from over 40 not-for-profit, tertiary care pediatric hospitals. Utilizing a probabilistic match based on center, date of birth, recipient gender, and transplant date within ±2 days, more than 90% of eligible UNOS patients (N = 2264) were successfully merged to their corresponding PHIS records. Thirty-day and 1-year mortality rates observed for the merged cohort (3.2% and 9.0%, respectively) were compared with those previously reported for pediatric heart transplants, as were the significant predictors of increased mortality. These results demonstrate that the established UNOS-PHIS cohort will provide a valid platform for subsequent research aimed at identifying center-level differences that could be exploited to optimize quality of care while minimizing cost across institutions.

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