Once someone has decided to use a non-public data set from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) for their investigation, it is crucial that they request the right information to answers to the questions being asked. While that sounds like it would be a relatively straight-forward determination, in many cases it is not. The Data Element Request Form, which requestors use to choose the pieces of information for their analysis, contains 455 separate items to select from, plus different ways to filter the data, and special groupers that organize the claims based on specific criteria.

In addition, they must consider whether the data they need contains protected health information (PHI) as that will require them to adhere to HIPAA criteria for release and the minimum necessary rule stating they can only receive the smallest amount of data necessary to complete the analysis. While CIVHC Health Data Solutions Consultants and Analysts help each requestor through the application process, carefully thinking through the completion of the Element Request Form can save requestors incredible amounts of time and help ensure the data will answer their questions once their CO APCD non-public release is delivered.

The Elements
The main tab of the Data Element Request workbook is made up of a large table of data elements that requestors can choose to include in their non-public CO APCD data release. It is loosely based on the how information is submitted to the CO APCD under the Data Submission Guide (DSG), breaking down the smaller parts of a claim from left to right.

The far-right columns indicate how each of these data elements are displayed in the CO APCD and how many characters the fields contain. The data elements themselves are defined in columns to the left, followed by their code in the DSG (if applicable) and the security level of the element – or what type of release can it be included in: de-identified, limited, or fully-identified.

CIVHC makes suggestions about elements that may be helpful for the desired analysis and requestors indicate their final selections in the columns in the center of the page. The Instructions and Standards tab in the workbook provides additional information about some of the data elements and the nature of the claim fields.

Groupers and Filters
Requestors can choose to use groupers and/or filters to enhance and streamline their analysis by making their selections on the labeled tabs in the workbook. The groupers make it easier to gather claims with specific diagnoses or services into a single data set while the filters can further pinpoint certain sections of the data and eliminate others. The filter option allows for a more nuanced slice of CO APCD data and can also require additional considerations as outlined on the Instructions and Standards tab. To filter effectively, it can be valuable to ask specific questions about what lens(es) will be used for analysis.

Non-public CO APCD data is an incredible resource for Change Agents working to improve lives across the state. As steward of the CO APCD, CIVHC is continually improving the magnitude of what the CO APCD contains, increasing the ways the data can be used and applied to make decisions that will ultimately improve health and lower cost. We welcome the opportunity to work with requestors to determine if the CO APCD can support their projects, whether the project meets the criteria for release, and work with them every step in the process.

If you have questions about non-public CO APCD data, the Data Element Request Form, or want to suggest a topic for a Query CO APCD: Data Analytics, please email us at info@civhc.org.