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Med Care. 2002 Aug;40(8 Suppl):IV-3-18.

Overview of the SEER-Medicare data: content, research applications, and generalizability to the United States elderly population.

Author information

  • 1Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7344, USA. joan_warren@nih.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare-linked database combines clinical information from population-based cancer registries with claims information from the Medicare program. The use of this database to study cancer screening, treatment, outcomes, and costs has grown in recent years.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

This paper provides an overview of the SEER-Medicare files for investigators interested in using these data for epidemiologic and health services research. The overview includes a description of the linkage of SEER and Medicare data and the files included as part of SEER-Medicare. The paper also describes the types of research projects that have been undertaken using the SEER-Medicare data. The overview concludes with a comparison of selected characteristics of elderly persons residing in the SEER areas to the US total aged.

RESULTS:

The paper identifies a number of potential uses of the SEER-Medicare data. The comparison of the elderly population in SEER areas to the US total shows that in the SEER areas there are a lower percentage of white persons and individuals living in poverty, and a higher percentage of urban-dwellers than the US total. Elderly persons in the SEER regions also have higher rates of HMO enrollment and lower rates of cancer mortality.

CONCLUSIONS:

The SEER-Medicare data are a unique resource that can be used for a variety of health services research projects. Although there are some differences between the elderly residing in the SEER areas and the US total, the SEER-Medicare data offer a large population-based cohort that can be used to longitudinally track care for persons over the course of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.

PMID:
12187163
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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