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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 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

Overwhelmed by big data?

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Tue, Jan 22, 2013

Netminder powerfuldataBig data was a hot topic for businesses in 2012, and according to a recent Forbes article, it will be even hotter this year when consumers really start to see its impact in everything from retail to healthcare.

The already vast volumes of information that exist online continue to grow every day, presenting enormous opportunities for businesses. Collecting and analyzing these large data sets, aka big data, can help companies make better decisions, predict probable outcomes, cut costs, identify new business opportunities, close more deals and retain more clients.

But how can businesses access the immense amount of information that is available and harness it for effective business intelligence?

Businesses, especially smaller companies, encounter three main challenges when trying to tackle big data, according to a recent article in Inc. First, many don’t have access to big data. Second, they may not have the technology and relational databases needed to easily pull the data. Third, many businesses don’t have the expertise on staff to analyze the data (e.g. a data scientist and a team of analysts).

David Selinger, a founder, CEO and data scientist at RichRelevance who formerly managed data mining and site optimization at, offered some tips for handling big data in a recent article. He suggests that businesses find experts to help them manage and analyze data, take advantage of the cloud, protect privacy, and of course, execute, test and measure.

Do you have experts lined up to take advantage of your big data opportunities?

Tags: data management, business intelligence, big data, data analysis





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