CMS to Permit Access to Medicare Data

At Health Datapalooza 2015, the acting CMS Administrator, Andy Slavitt announced a new policy that will enable innovators and entrepreneurs to access CMS data such as Medicare claims. 

This will allow innovators and entrepreneurs to conduct approved research  to improve care and provide better tools to help consumers understand what works best in healthcare. CMS will begin accepting research requests in September 2015.

Examples of tools or products that innovators and entrepreneurs might develop may include care management or predictive modeling tools, which could greatly benefit the healthcare system by providing healthier people, better quality, and lower costs.

“In the past, CMS has prohibited researchers from accessing detailed CMS data if they intended to use the tools to develop products or tools to sell,” said Niall Brennan, CMS Chief Data Officer and Director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics.

All the data is privacy-protected, researchers will be allowed to request data on a quarterly basis including claims data rather than the annual updates that were available in the past. The CMS Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC will be used to provide access to current data without higher data costs.

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