Linkage of laboratory results to medicare fee-for-service claims

Published

Journal Article

© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. Background: Medicare is the single largest purchaser of laboratory testing in the United States, yet test results associated with Medicare laboratory claims have historically not been available. Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe both the linkage of laboratory results data to Medicare claims and the completeness of these results data. In a subgroup of beneficiaries initiating angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers, we also demonstrate the generalizability of Medicare beneficiaries with laboratory values compared with those without laboratory values. We end with a discussion of the limitations and potential uses of these linked data. Methods: We obtained information about laboratory orders and results for all Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in 10 eastern states who had outpatient laboratory tests conducted by a large national laboratory services vendor in 2011. Using a combination of direct identifiers and patient demographic characteristics, we linked patients in these laboratory data to Medicare beneficiaries, enabling us to associate test results with existing claims. Results: Nearly all patients in the laboratory data were able to be linked to Medicare beneficiaries. There were over 2 million distinct beneficiaries with nearly 125 million specific test results in the laboratory data. For specific tests ordered in an outpatient or office setting in these 10 states, between 5% and 15% of them had linked laboratory data. Medicare beneficiaries initiating angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers who had laboratory results data had similar patient characteristics to those without results data. Conclusions: This novel linkage of laboratory results data to Medicare claims creates unprecedented opportunities for conducting comparative effectiveness research related to patient safety and quality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hammill, BG; Curtis, LH; Qualls, LG; Hastings, SN; Wang, V; Maciejewski, ML

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 974 - 979

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-1948

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-7079

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000420

Citation Source

  • Scopus