Use of Claims Data To Assess the Resource Utilization and Costs of Herpes Zoster in the First Year After Diagnosis
Ralph P Insinga, Merck Research Laboratories
Robbin F. Itzler, Merck Research Laboratories
Greg Lenhart, Thompson Medstat
Arthur Segraves, Merck Vaccine Division
*Ron White, Merck Vaccine Division
Keywords: cost analysis, resource use, healthcare claims, herpes zoster
Herpes zoster (HZ) episodes typically begin with a rash, and may be accompanied by moderate to severe pain which can persist for months or years, as well as other neurological complications. Given the long-term complications associated with HZ, it is important to examine the healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) and costs beyond the first 90 days after HZ onset. Using claims data to capture the long-term complications associated with HZ introduces special challenges in terms of distinguishing the HCRU and costs attributable to HZ relative to other comorbidities especially in individuals = 60 years of age and physicians may be less likely to assign HZ claims to healthcare encounters for zoster involving pain over time. We provide the strengths and limitations of a regression-based approach to assess HCRU and costs of HZ in the first year after diagnosis.