New online training to improve researcher and student knowledge of Medicaid administrative data analysis

POSTED: 06/01/2023 at 8:00 am


WVU Health Affairs Institute has launched a robust online Medicaid administrative claims data analysis training, enabling researchers, data analysts, and students to develop a better understanding of how to use Medicaid data to identify health trends and associations. The data in the course are fabricated but are designed to simulate real Medicaid data. The data analysis techniques are widely applicable to various states’ Medicaid data.  

Medicaid is the nation’s largest health insurer, covering more than 93 million Americans or 28 percent of the country—and 1 in 3 West Virginians. Medical providers, pharmacies, and hospitals submit millions of claims to Medicaid each year, and that information can be studied to determine trends in healthcare utilization, how geography impacts service delivery, which services are used by which demographics and communities, and more. Empowering researchers and analysts to better analyze Medicaid administrative data can aid in the improvement of health outcomes in West Virginia, other states, and nationally.   

Although Medicaid records capture very valuable information, they are mostly administrative tools that describe healthcare encounters for billing, not datasets designed for research, which makes interpreting them difficult without properly understanding the data. Dr. Shyama Mahakalanda, Director of Health Analytics at WVU Health Affairs Institute, explained that was the reasoning behind developing this training of high quality, detailed course materials.  

“Although transparency and access to Medicaid administrative claims data have increased in the last decade, the knowledge and training of how to utilize that data has remained relatively unchanged,” Dr. Mahakalanda said. “We hope this training helps to increase the capacity of analysts to use this data and also leads to more use of Medicaid data for public impact research.”  

The instructor is Dr. Zheng Dai, Assistant Director of Health Analytics for Health Affairs Institute, who earned his PhD in epidemiology from the WVU School of Public Health. He specializes in studying substance misuse and has used Medicaid administrative data extensively in his research.  

Health Affairs offers two levels of training: a 10-week introductory course and a 12-week advanced course. The introductory course has two start dates, Aug. 14, 2023 and Jan. 8. 2024, and the advanced course begins both September 4 and January 8, 2024. The advanced course requires completing the introduction or passing a pre-assessment. Space is limited.  

WVU faculty, staff, and students get a 50% discount on fees, and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services employees are eligible to take the course for free. To get the WVU discount code or ask about group registration, contact using your WVU email address.

Learn more about Medicaid Administrative Data.


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