BASUG Meeting Notes: September 2012

I attended the third quarter BASUG (Boston Area SAS User Group) meeting in Cambridge, MA at the Microsoft NERD center on September 20th. Morning speakers included Craig Dickstein of Tamarack Professional Services and Paul Gorrell of IMPAQ International. Craig Dickstein is one of the authors of Health Care Data and SAS and has worked with Cigna as a HEDIS code reviewer. An afternoon training on using SAS to analyze publicly available healthcare data sets was also led by Paul Gorrell.

The entire day focused on healthcare data, with the following presentations: “Data Hygiene Routines for Administrative Healthcare Data”, “Calculating the Hospital Readmission Interval”, and “Using SAS to Generate Estimates of U.S. Prescription Drug Cost and Use”. Dickstein’s presentation on “data hygiene routines” included a useful overview of the architecture of ICD-9 diagnosis codes, CPT codes (categories I-III), and HCPCS procedure codes. His code samples demonstrated how to create procedure code lookup tables with Proc Format and use these lookup tables to identify bad values. His second presentation described the challenges of calculating re-admission intervals and presented some alternatives to using the LAG function, including a detailed discussion of how the Program Data Vector (PDV) works in SAS. Finally, Paul Gorrell discussed how to replicate the numbers found in commonly cited statistics such as “5% of Americans make up 50% of U.S. health care spending” by using SAS/STAT survey procedures such as Proc Surveyfreq and Proc Surveymeans in combination with the HRQ data files available from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for December 11th, 2012.