The Ask the Analyst series is a deep dive into the data by those most familiar with the CO APCD – the analysts themselves. We’ll hear about their experiences with recent analyses and answer any pressing questions that come up. Have a question for the CIVHC Analyst Team? Email it to

Analyst Name: Emma Anderson

Featured Project:  CO APCD Insights Dashboard


Project Purpose (in one sentence, what high level question was this analysis trying to answer?): To give current and potential CIVHC partners a high-level overview of the contents of the CO APCD.


  1. What were your first steps when beginning this analysis? Because the purpose of this report is broader than typical analyses, our first steps were to carefully brainstorm and scope out what pieces of data should be included and how it should be organized in order to be useful for a general audience. We had to walk a fine line between portraying a comprehensive representation of the different facets of the data while also maintaining ease-of-use and understanding for users of all roles and backgrounds.
  2. Were there specific considerations you needed to consider based on the data? There are some data elements that can not be compared apples to apples – for example, Medicare fee for service data is not submitted on the same schedule as the other payers and does not have the same paid-through date ranges. It was very important to clearly note or label any caveats such as this, as we could not assume a general user would have any familiarity with our database or data collection processes.
  3. What challenges did you encounter while performing the analysis? How did you overcome them? In our enthusiasm, we wanted to display a large number of aspects of CO APCD data, which resulted in quite a lengthy dashboard with many tabs. Stakeholder feedback expressed that this draft of the report was cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Responding to this feedback, in our latest version we built a table of contents with direct links to tabs and a navigation bar at the top of each. Given how positively these additions were received, we hope to implement similar changes and improve the user-experience for other reports in the future.
  4. Without delving into results, did anything surprise you about this analysis or the process of executing it? It is surprising and inspiring to see how much the CO APCD has grown in just the last few years. More payers are submitting quality data, so the CO APCD contains information on more members and providers than ever before. As a result, Coloradans can significantly expand their understanding of health care quality and costs throughout the state and open up many possibilities for future research and reports that would have felt incomplete or impossible until recently.
  5. What did you learn while performing this analysis? While there are so many things about the CO APCD that would be useful and interesting to portray in a report, it can quickly become cumbersome and overwhelming to the user. Its important to scope what should be in a report and what insights should be gathered by the audience, and stick to that. If you try to include everything under the sun, the purpose of the report can very quickly get lost.