Monday, May 06, 2013

Medicare Mapper Free iPad App Now Available

Demonstrating how location analytics can use big data, Critigen LLC along with partners Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., and Esri, has developed an informative Medicare application called Medicare Mapper.  Just released in the Apple App Store, it is a free download for the iPad.  Based on a publicly available data set from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the application allows consumers to see where people in their area are going for Medicare services, and service providers to see where their patients live along with the relative amount of services they received.  It quickly and easily illustrates geographic patterns in Medicare hospital inpatient expenditures and exemplifies the power of location analytics for healthcare.

Based on the 2011 version of the Hospital Service Area file, the application makes anonymous data available on health services, service providers, utilization, and costs in an intuitive tablet interface.  A total of 990,455 records, represented by a string of numbers, were decoded and geo-enabled with help from the U.S. Census Bureau’s ZIP code file and population data from Esri.  It describes every Medicare Hospital Inpatient Admission that occurred in the country in 2011.  Included is the residency (ZIP code) of the beneficiary, the hospital provider that received the reimbursement, the total amount of the reimbursement, the total length of stay, and the total number of cases that originated from within the respective ZIP code.  Using the totals described by the data, two more categories of data were averaged and included for each record.

Users can select a specific hospital and display its impact in terms of which ZIP codes their 2011 Medicare beneficiaries came from.  If a ZIP code is selected, pins appear on the map to show what facilities were used by the beneficiaries living there.  Another built-in capability compares two hospitals or two ZIP codes in a side-by-side manner.  The differences of each category can then be viewed numerically or by percentage.  These capabilities enable users to build the stories they need to produce understanding, build knowledge, research, or manage.

Medicare Mapper follows the 2012 release of Critigen’s Health Indicators app as an example of 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 of geographic information to improve the way we invest in healthcare, prevention, and infrastructure. We also hope it enables executives, citizens, and health professionals to create the stories they need to enable change.


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