Lecture: How Reproducible Are People? Understanding Health Histories Using Medicare Claims Data by Dr. James Sorace on 10/3/2017

How Reproducible Are People? Understanding Health Histories Using Medicare Claims Data

Brown Bag Lecture by Dr. James Sorace | 10/3/2017 11:00AM – 12PM | 7th Floor Conference Room, Bldg 38A


How reproducible are people? This fundamental question underlies the medical sciences. For example if there is a limited set of disease patterns in the population then the following are easily accomplished: (a) Generalizing the results of clinical trials, (b) Developing patient care algorithms, and (c) Measuring the quality of care.

For more complex patterns, these tasks become challenging. Thus it is crucial to understand the variations of human disease patterns found in a large, clinically significant population. We address this issue by summarizing two studies based on Medicare claims data.  The first study used a novel twin experimental design to quantify the role of heredity in the Medicare population’s disease burden and its expenditures. The second study calculates the “long-tailed” distribution of comorbidities found in 32 million Medicare beneficiaries. The implications of these two studies for biomedical and health services research will be discussed.


Dr. Sorace is a pathologist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in HHS.  His research interests include the role of big data in biomedical research as well as the development of methods to analyze the interoperable exchange of health information. Dr. Sorace serves as HHS’s Standards Executive for the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy and as staff to the Standards Subcommittee of the National Committee of Vital and Health Statistics. His MD is from the University of Virginia.

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