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st: merging values of one variable to to the nearest value in another dataset (stata v10.1)


From   "Ariel Linden" <ariel.linden@gmail.com>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: merging values of one variable to to the nearest value in another dataset (stata v10.1)
Date   Tue, 20 Oct 2009 13:19:01 -0700

Hi Listservers,

I have a dataset in long format which has dates when an individual visited a
doctor. I have another dataset with dates when that patient started taking a
medication. Naturally, the dates will not align exactly between the two data
sets. 

Is there a way of merging the files so that the date when the patient
started taking the medication is aligned (put on the same line) to the
closest date (but after) of a given doctor visit?

Example

File 1 - office visits

ID	date of visit
1	1/1/2009
1	1/31/2009
1	2/18/2009
1	3/14/2009
1	5/30/2009
1	7/12/2009
2	3/10/2009
2	4/25/2009
2	5/20/2009
3	2/09/2009
3	6/08/2009
3	7/10/2009

File 2 - medication fill date

ID 	date of first fill
1	2/22/2009
2	4/15/2009
3	7/15/2009

If I would like the medication date to be added to the office visit file to
be matched to the last closest office visit, then ID 1 medication date
should align with 1/31/2009, ID 2 should align with 3/10/2009 and ID 3
should align with 7/10/2009. 

Thanks in advance

Ariel 




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