Use of medical insurance claims data for occupational health research

J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Oct;48(10):1054-61. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000241049.23093.a4.


Objective: The objective of this study was to demonstrate that health claims data, widely available due to the unique nature of the U.S. healthcare system, can be linked to other relevant databases such as personnel files and exposure data maintained by large employers. These data offer great potential for occupational health research.

Methods: In this article, we describe the process for linking claims data to industrial hygiene exposure data and personnel files of a single large employer to conduct epidemiologic research.

Results: Our results demonstrate the ability to replicate previously published findings using commonly maintained data sets and illustrate methodological issues that may arise as newer hypotheses are tested in this way.

Conclusions: Health claims files offer potential for epidemiologic research in the United States, although the full extent and guidelines for successful application await further clarification through empiric research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aluminum
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Design
  • United States


  • Aluminum