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  • May 15, 2019
  • Liu, Jiacheng
    • Affiliation: School of Information and Library Science
  • BackgroundThe Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) is a large publicly available information source provided by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Since 1996, AHRQ has been taking samples of households throughout the United States, and has provided an unparalleled degree of details about the use and payment of health care services. Although more than 1900 publications have used data from the MEPS dataset in the past two decades, it is still lack of an overview on the research effort that MEPS data have supported. The purpose of this study is to systematically survey the research publications that adopted MEPS as the sole or one of the datasets by a bibliometric approach. The findings meant to provide insights to policy makers, grant agencies, and researchers in terms of data usage patterns as well as organization, funding, publishing, and collaborations.Methods and Materials Two databases, PubMed and Web of Science (WoS) were used to search for peer-reviewed articles from 1996 to 2018 that adopted the MEPS data. The title and abstract fields of each retrieved publication were screened in Covidence1 based on a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. The full citation records of the included publications were obtained by matching records in WoS using PMID, DOI, and title fields. WoS analytics, Microsoft Excel, and VoSviewer2 were utilized for quantitative and bibliometric network analysis, including productivity, research categories and topic clustering, journal sources, other datasets co-used with MEPS, funding sources, and co-authorship (i.e., organizational and country collaboration).Results A total of 1953 publications from 1996 to 2018 were included in this study. The publications that adopted MEPS data grew steadily with an average of 75 articles per year and reached a peak in 2017. The top research categories were healthcare services, public environmental occupational health, health policy, and internal medicine. In addition, 235 key terms were extracted from the title and abstracts of the included publications and formed three major topic clusters (i.e., health quality and cost, healthcare accessibility and disparity, child and family care). Additional 24 datasets were identified that were frequently co-used with MEPS by the included studies such as Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Truven MarketScan. National Institute of Health was the top grant agency for the included studies. More than 3200 authors from 25 countries and 1074 institutions or organizations contributed to the included publications. ConclusionsAlthough MEPS focuses on the representative samples of domestic households and researchers in the U.S. contributed the most to the included publications, the MEPS data have inspired cross-country collaborations. Our results illustrated the broad landscape of research effort that MEPS data have supported and substantiated the value of AHRQ’s effort of providing the MEPS data to the public. The findings will help stakeholders with informed decision making.References1.Better systematic review management Internet. Covidence. cited 2019Mar13. Available from: https://www.covidence.org/2.Eck NJV, Waltman L. Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. Scientometrics. 2009;84(2):523-38
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Yu, Fei
  • Bachelor of Science
Academic concentration
  • Information & Library Science
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2019
  • English

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