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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Analyst Name: Tim Ginader, MS, Health Care Data Analyst
Featured Project: Vasectomy and Contraceptive Data Byte
Project Purpose (in one sentence, what high level question was this analysis trying to answer?): Determine the utilization and costs for vasectomies and contraceptive use in Colorado.
1.) What were your first steps when beginning this analysis?
I began by defining a methodology to be able to accurately find the necessary data. I needed to clearly define what procedure code to use for vasectomies and what procedure codes or NDC drug codes to use for contraceptive use. It was also important to define the populations for vasectomy procedures and contraceptive use.
2.) Were there specific considerations you needed to consider based on the data?
There are many types of contraceptives that we needed to consider. Non-oral contraceptives , like implants and patches, can be found in both medical claims and pharmacy claims. Oral contraceptives are found in pharmacy claims. Therefore, we needed to consider how to best analyze and display this data.
3.) What challenges did you encounter while performing the analysis? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was developing the methodology to best analyze multiple types of contraceptive data. Since the data is found in multiple forms in different types of claims data, it was a challenge to determine how/if to match the information and accurately display it. Ultimately, we chose to display the contraceptive data in three separate analyses: non-oral medical claims data, non-oral pharmacy claims data, and oral pharmacy claims data.
4.) Without delving into results, did anything surprise you about this analysis or the process of executing it?
The biggest surprise was the difference in utilization rates between insurance types. For many procedures or prescriptions there was a stark difference in utilization between those with commercial insurance and those with Medicaid.
5.) What did you learn while performing this analysis?
I continued to learn the necessity of having a clearly defined methodology to accompany the analysis. Being able to define exactly what is being analyzed and displayed in crucial to creating effective output.