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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Nov 27 2012   7:22PM GMT

Hacktivist uses health care data analytics to create physician rankings



Posted by: RedaChouffani
BI and data analytics, BIG DATA, Data analytics, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Medicare, MedStartr.com, Open Data, Open Data Initiatives program, physician ranking

Many federal agencies have made data publicly available since the Open Data Initiatives program was started by the White House under the presidential innovation initiatives. Todd Park, chief technology officer at the White House made it very clear that it intends on making government data more useful and available to anyone.

Many of the apps showcased during Health Datapalooza provided examples of positive usages of data. This conference was geared toward engaging vendors, hacktivists, and other innovators to make good use of government data. But just recently, Fred Trotter, health care hacktivist and author of Hacking Healthcare, posted a project on the crowdsourcing site medstartr.com, the next level doctor social graph, to get funding to further develop a platform that would utilize data to rank physicians.

The data, as described by Trotter, was the result of a request for information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He was provided with a large data set from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices (CMS) that contained all the details around the referral activities of Medicare participating physicians.

The goal for the funding is to assist in making meaningful use of the data, according to medstartr.com. Combining state credential data and then creating a larger data set called a “DocGraph” would provide a rating system for physicians that would also be made publicly available after six months.

Examples of the released referral information currently reside in multiple data repositories across multiple medical billing systems in hospitals, integrated delivery networks, clearing houses and small medical practices. The released data from CMS represents the largest data set to date and provides the largest sampling size available. The scenario presented by Fred Trotter is one way health care data can be useful to patients. There are still many other ways data can be used, which makes a strong case for data analytics to improve the health care system.

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