Category Archives: Statistics

Recommended: Medicare Claims Synthetic Public Use Files (SynPUFs)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides researchers with access to Medicare claims data, which is a wonderful resources. But you have to sign a restrictive agreement before they will give you this data and you have to pay a non-trivial amount of money to get the data. Fair enough, because CMS has to guarantee patient confidentiality among other things. But what if you want to “play” with the data before taking the plunge? Thankfully, CMS has provided to the general public a synthetic (read fake) data set that has the same data structure. This allows you to prototype your programs on the synthetic data and then transition easily to the real data. Continue reading

PMean: Cases and cohorts and controls, oh my!

Some asked a question about a retrospective study where you have a control cohort matched to a case cohort so the cohorts are similar on important (potentially confounding) variables. I pointed out that the two consecutive words “case cohort” are ambiguous and tried to explain  how I define a retrospective cohort design versus a (retrospective) case-control design. Continue reading

PMean: How to run your first Bayesian analysis using jags software in R

Someone wanted to know how to run a Bayesian data analysis for a two group longitudinal study. There are several ways you can do this, but I had to confess I did not have an immediate answer. So I took some time to figure out how to do this using jags software inside of R. I’ve done a fair amount of stuff in jags, but not anything close to a longitudinal design. The general principle is to start with something easy and work your way slowly up to the final analysis. Continue reading