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When Is a City Not a City?

Posted by Laura McMullen on Wed, Mar 26, 2014

One of the most common questions we get from NetMinder users when they run reports comparing provider networks in specific cities is why aren’t there any providers in ______________? (Fill in city name here.)

Often the reason is that the client’s definition of a city is different than the preferred US Postal Service definition. That’s why, to ensure you always get apples-to-apples comparisons, we base the city designations in NetMinder on the USPS preferred city designation. 

  • Cleveland is a good example. There are a number of ZIP codes in Cleveland that have both preferred and acceptable city names. See list below:

Cleveland zips resized 600

  • Here’s a screen capture from www.usps.com for zip code 44118 for an example of preferred and acceptable city names.

Cleveland preferred

So, what can you do when you’re running a NetMinder report to avoid this problem? The best thing to do is to run your report at the ZIP code or MSA level. Those geographic areas are more firmly agreed upon than city names. MSA, or Metropolitan Statistical Area, reports can be helpful in this situation because city names are included in the name of the MSA, i.e. CLEVELAND-ELYRIA, OH. If you choose to run a county report, I recommend including city and 5-digit ZIP subtotals to make sure that you include all of the areas you need since county names might not be as familiar as city names.

Try this tip out when you log into NetMinder next time and let us know how it goes in the NetMinder User Group on LinkedIn.

 

Tags: compare networks, data management, business intelligence, data analysis, provider counts, ZIP codes and cities

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