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st: lowest value in a series of variables in wide data


From   Harrison Alter <doctordad@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: lowest value in a series of variables in wide data
Date   Tue, 28 May 2013 07:44:11 -0700

I have a dataset of hospital stay records in which each row is a
subject, and many of the columns are time stamps, each varname
beginning with "los_", e.g. "los_admfloor" or "los_dcsdu". These are
doubles using -clock-.

To calculate the absolute length of stay, I want to generate a
variable, say, "timein" with the earliest time stamp, and one
"timeout" with the last, then subtract "timein" from "timeout".

To generate these variables in Stata 11.2 on a Mac, I tried:

 egen timein = min(los*), by ( patientid)

which returns

los* invalid name

What's the best way to identify the minimum value among the variables
beginning with "los"?

Thanks fo any advice you can provide.

Harrison Alter
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