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Using administrative medical claims data to supplement state disease registry systems for reporting zoonotic infections.

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To determine what, if any, opportunity exists in using administrative medical claims data for supplemental reporting to the state infectious
disease registry system.


Cases of five tick-borne (
Lyme disease (LD), babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), tularemia) and two mosquito-borne diseases (West Nile virus, La Crosse viral encephalitis) reported to the Tennessee Department of Health during 2000-2009 were selected for study. Similarly, medically diagnosed cases from a Tennessee-based managed care organization (MCO) claims data warehouse were extracted for the same time period. MCO and Tennessee Department of Health incidence rates were compared using a complete randomized block design within a general linear mixed model to measure potential supplemental reporting opportunity.


MCO LD incidence was 7.7 times higher (p<0.001) than that reported to the state, possibly indicating significant under-reporting (?196 unreported cases per year). MCO data also suggest about 33 cases of RMSF go unreported each year in Tennessee (p<0.001). Three cases of babesiosis were discovered using claims data, a significant finding as this
disease was only recently confirmed in Tennessee.


Data sharing between MCOs and health departments for vaccine information already exists (eg, the Vaccine Safety Datalink Rapid Cycle Analysis project). There may be a significant opportunity in Tennessee to supplement the current passive infectious
disease reporting system with administrative claims data, particularly for LD and RMSF.


There are limitations with administrative claims data, but health plans may help bridge data gaps and support the federal administration’s vision of combining public and private data into one source.

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013 Jan 1;20(1):193-8. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2012-000948. Epub 2012 Jul 18. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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