Analysis of Claims Data to Assess Resource Utilization and Costs Using Herpes Zoster as an Example
*Ralph P Insinga, Merck Research Laboratories
Robbin F. Itzler, Merck Research Laboratories
James M. Pellissier, Merck Research Laboratories
Keywords: cost analysis, resource use, healthcare claims, herpes zoster
This study assesses resource use (RU) and costs of acute/subacute herpes zoster (AHZ). We highlight strengths and limitations of our approach and lessons learned. Data for 2000/2001 were obtained from the Medstat Marketscan claims database. RU and costs were examined for AHZ cases (n = 8,741) and compared through regression analyses to controls. AHZ was estimated to result in an average of 1.7 outpatient visits, 2.1 prescription fills, and $431 in healthcare costs. Limitations of this analysis included the inability to validate claims diagnoses, directly attribute care to HZ or evaluate potential spill-over effects for other health conditions. Strengths included identification of a subset of healthcare potentially related to HZ among a population with many co-morbidities, introduction of a control variable for baseline RU, and analysis for a very large number of HZ cases.