CMS to allow innovators access to Medicare data: 5 takeaways

At Health Datapalooza, Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator of CMS, has announced that for the first time innovators and entrepreneurs will have access to CMS data.

Here five takeaways from the announcement.

1. Beginning in September 2015, CMS will begin accepting research requests. Patient identity will not be identified, but the providers of care will be. All data will be privacy-protected.

2. The new policy is motivated by the desire to improve healthcare. Innovators and entrepreneurs will be able to use data for approved research. "Data is the essential ingredient to building a better, smarter, healthier system. We expect a stream of new tools for beneficiaries and care providers that improve care and personalize decision-making," said Mr. Slavitt.

3. Data will be accessed through the CMS Virtual Research Data Center. "Historically, CMS has prohibited researchers from accessing detailed CMS data if they intended to use it to develop products or tools to sell," said Niall Brennan, CMS chief data officer and director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics. "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."

4. Through access to this data, entrepreneurs could make predictive modeling tools, for example.

5. Those interested in accessing the data will be able to submit requests on a quarterly basis.

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