In search of the big picture: Covered California to mine PPACA enrollee data

More than 1.4 million enrollees strong, California's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act marketplace is a hodge-podge of health data waiting to be mined. And Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, is eyeing it hungrily.

Covered California said undertaking the massive data-mining project is essential, and it plans to use data such as hospital stays, prescriptions and physician visits to measure the quality of care patients receive and to hold insurers and providers accountable under the PPACA, according to a Los Angeles Times report. In April, Covered California signed a five-year, $9.3 million contract, recruiting Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics to help crunch the numbers, according to the Times.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told the Times that keeping the information protected was a top priority, and that without looking at this data, the promise of the PPACA is not being carried out to its full extent — the mining can provide valuable insights about the management of chronic care conditions and the efficiency of tests and treatments, among other things.

Patient health information that insurers provide to Truven will be stripped of all identifying information and the data collection will not begin until the fall, according to the Times.

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