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Measuring Frailty in Administrative Claims Data: Comparative Performance of Four Claims-Based Frailty Measures in the U.S. Medicare Data


Kim, D., Patorno, E., Pawar, A., Lee, H., Schneeweiss, S., and Glynn, R.


The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences




Background: There has been increasing effort to measure frailty in the U.S. Medicare data. The performance of claims-based frailty measures has not been compared.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 3,097 community-dwelling fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries (mean age 75.6 years) who participated in the 2008 Health and Retirement Study examination. Four claims-based frailty measures developed by Davidoff, Faurot, Segal, and Kim were compared against frailty phenotype, a deficit-accumulation frailty index (FI), and activities of daily living (ADL) dependence using Spearman correlation coefficients and C-statistics.

Results: Claims-based frailty measures were positively associated with frailty phenotype (prevalence in ≤10th vs >90th percentile: 8.0% vs 41.3% for Davidoff; 5.9% vs 53.1% for Faurot; 3.3% vs 48.0% for Segal; 2.9% vs 51.0% for Kim) and FI (mean in ≤10th vs >90th percentile: 0.17 vs 0.33 for Davidoff; 0.13 vs 0.37 for Faurot; 0.12 vs 0.31 for Segal; 0.10 vs 0.37 for Kim). The age and sex-adjusted C-statistics for frailty phenotype for Davidoff, Faurot, Segal, and Kim indices were 0.73, 0.74, 0.73, and 0.78, respectively, and partial correlation coefficients with FI were 0.18, 0.32, 0.26, and 0.55, respectively. The results for ADL dependence were similar (prevalence in ≤10th vs >90th percentile: 3.7% vs 50.5% for Davidoff; 2.3% vs 55.0% for Faurot; 3.0% vs 38.3% for Segal; 2.3% vs 50.8% for Kim). The age and sex-adjusted C-statistics for the indices were 0.79, 0.80, 0.74, and 0.81, respectively.

Conclusions: The choice of a claims-based frailty measure can influence the identification of older adults with frailty and disability in Medicare data.

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