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CMS opens data to entrepreneurs

June 11, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Healthcare entrepreneurs and innovators will now have access to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data including Medicare fee-for-service claims data, Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of CMS, announced. Such information will be made available for approved research aimed at improving the delivery of healthcare.

Patient/resident identities will be kept confidential, but the names of healthcare providers will be available.

Researchers needing CMS data will be able to gain access through the CMS Virtual Research Data Center which provides a secure environment in which to work. In addition, only aggregated, privacy-protected reports and results will be allowed to be downloaded to personal workstations.

“Data is the essential ingredient to building a better, smarter, healthier system,” Slavitt said in a press release. “[This] announcement is aimed directly at shaking up healthcare innovation and setting a new standard for data transparency. We expect a stream of new tools for beneficiaries and care providers that improve care and personalize decision-making.”

Niall Brennan, CMS chief data officer and director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics, added: “Historically, CMS has prohibited researchers from accessing detailed CMS data if they intended to use it to develop products or tools to sell. However, as the delivery system transforms from rewarding volume to value, data will play a key role. We hope that this new policy will lead to additional innovation and insights from the CMS data.”