Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Impact of alternative approaches to assess outlying and influential observations on health care costs.

Weichle T, Hynes DM, Durazo-Arvizu R, Tarlov E, Zhang Q. Impact of alternative approaches to assess outlying and influential observations on health care costs. SpringerPlus. 2013 Nov 18; 2(1):614.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


The distributions of medical costs are often skewed to the right because small numbers of patients use large amounts of health care resources. Using data from a study of colon cancer costs, we show, by example, the impact and magnitude of outliers and influential observations on health care costs and compared the effects of statistical costing methods for addressing the disproportionate influence of outliers and influential observations. We used data from a retrospective cohort study of 3,842 elderly veterans with colon cancer who were enrolled in and used health care from, both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare in 1999-2004. After calculating the average colon cancer episode cost and distribution for the full cohort, we used box-plot methods, Winsorization, DFBETAs, and Cook's distance to identify and assess or adjust the outlying and/or influential observations. The number of observations identified as outlying and/or influential ranged from 13 when the predicted DFBETA measurement was greater than 0.15 and the observation was a qualified box-plot outlier to 384 cases using the Winsorization method at the 5th and 95th percentiles. Average costs of colon cancer episodes using these methods were similar. The method of choice from the results of this particular analysis can be conditionally based on whether the purpose is to control only for influential observations or to simultaneously control for outliers and influential observations. Understanding how estimates could change with each approach is important in assessing the impact of a particular method on the results.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.