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Making Sense of Health Data II - Medicare Mapper

Posted by Jaime Crawford on Apr 17, 2013

How many Medicare $$ were spent in that zip code?

This is just one of the questions answered quickly and visually with Medicare Mapper. Perhaps you are a hospital administrator that wants a quick view of where your patients come from.  Or a CMS official that needs to compare zip code expenditures of Medicare dollars in order to plan for better management and oversight. Or you could be a citizen who plans to relocate and want to know where you can go for the best service as a Medicare beneficiary.

All of these answers can be gleaned from Medicare Mapper, an iPad application built through the partnership of Critigen, Esri, and Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. Just released to the App Store as a free download, it is an example of taking big, lazy data and painting a picture. What picture? The one that is most important to you – one you define on your iPad.

Medicare Mapper is the second app using our geospatial technology and mobile expertise to make health data accessible to everyone.  We hope it inspires the Health community to embrace the potential that geographic information has to improve the way we invest in healthcare, prevention and infrastructure.  <Check out Health Indicators app too.>

Comparing service providers that are located near each other can show that one serves 100 more zip codes and has significantly more Medicare visits. When comparing hospitals or zip codes, the data may lead to questions being asked to explain disparity.  And that is one of the more interesting aspects about this tool; It doesn’t seek to paint a biased picture of any particular factor, but merely puts the data in a visual context.

Medicare Facility Comparison MapFacility and Zip Code Comparison - Medicare Mapper allows side-by-side comparisons of facilities and zip codes. Clicking the metric in the center column will show numbers or percentages where relevant.

Leveraging a data file of 990,445 records, mixing in 6,087 unique providers from another set of data, then topping it off with US Census and Zip Code information provides some very interesting material for analysis. Some interesting facts:

  • In 2011, $631,202,926,283 worth of services were reimbursed by Medicare in the US
  • The top four zip codes that received Medicare services in the country (by total cost) were in New Jersey, for a total cost of $1,745,429,524
  • The average cost per case of Medicare services in the nation was $41,916
  • The top five facilities provided Medicare services totaling $14,376,953,228

Location technology coupled with this type of information can be very powerful. Further, this application can be enhanced with other key pieces of health data. Imagine what the impact would be by adding Medicaid details, enhanced Census statistics, and diagnosis related group (DRG) sets.

While this application is focused on Medicare data, imagine what your data might look like using location analytics in a mobile, web-based, or desktop application! Check out the Medicare Mapper solution page for more information and a link to download Medicare Mapper from the Apple App Store.

What is your story? It’s your turn to tell us about the interesting stories you build with Medicare Mapper. Please comment below, or tweet #MedicareMapper.

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Author Info

Jaime Crawford, VP Geospatial Systems Integration
Jaime Crawford
VP Geospatial Systems Integration
+1 303.713.3239