Senior Health Information Consultant
Barbara B. Okerson, PhD, is a Senior Health Information Consultant at WellPoint. Okerson supports the West Coast Region Client Advisory and Reporting Services as part of Health & Wellness Solutions. She handles ad hoc and report development requests with SAS software. Okerson has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 15 years. She is a SAS Certified Professional, a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality, and a Fellow at the Academy for Healthcare Management.
How long have you been using SAS®?
What SAS products have you used in the past? What products and solutions are you currently using?
In the past: Base SAS, SAS/GRAPH®, SAS/IML®, SAS/STAT®, SAS/OR®, SAS/GIS®, SAS/AF®, SAS/ETS®, SAS/QC®, SAS/EIS®
Currently using: Base SAS, SAS/GRAPH, SAS/STAT, SAS/ETS, SAS® Enterprise Guide®
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
The most frequent problem would be process automation. I have used it in academics – I've done automatic test scoring with SAS. In the health care field, I created a report card application for providers and also used SAS to create monthly automated risk-scoring reports.
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
I used SAS to create a database to store several hundred bibliographic sources and their topical uses for dissertation.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
Being chair of (Southeast SAS Users Group) 2011.
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
I started using SAS with the VMS operating system – not a Windows environment – so I would say the Windows environment is the biggest change. The other big change would be using ODS for formatting. I used to rely on Annotate, PROC GREPLAY, and graphics primitives to approximate what I wanted – all of this is much easier with ODS. (I still use the Annotate facility).
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
I have attended all SUGIs and SAS Global Forums since 1990 in Nashville (23 straight). I have also attended most SESUGs, as well as some NESUGs (NorthEast SAS Users Group) and MWSUGs (Midwest SAS Users Group). I have attended Virginia SAS Users Group meetings since 2001 and have been an officer since 2006. I am also a member of the planning committee for the WellPoint In-house Users Group.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Yes, I have been influenced by Mike Zdeb, Darrell Massengill, Art Carpenter, Daniel O'Connor, Robert Allison and others. I am also influenced by all those conference attendees whose papers I access when I have a question.