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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jun 8 2013   7:53PM GMT

CMS releases big data on spending



Posted by: RedaChouffani
CMS, data, Datapalooza

This June, many in healthcare informatics watched Health Datapalooza IV closely. It was packed with valuable presentations showcasing uses and innovations around data.  For most, the data available through healthcare holds potential to improve patient care and population health.

At this year’s Datapalooza, Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is releasing data for average hospital charges for 30 types of procedures, such as: Endoscopies, cardiograms, Debridement & Destruction, Diagnostic and Screening Ultrasound, and a few more.

“A more data driven and transparent health care marketplace can help consumers and their families make important decisions about their care,” said Sebelius. “The administration is committed to making the health system more transparent and harnessing data to empower consumers.”

The 2011 data has been received with resistance from hospitals, as patients can sometimes see wide differences between prices for the same procedures, and may misinterpret the data’s function.

For healthcare leaders, this was another example of administration working toward making more data available to the public in order to encourage innovation through active data use.  However, as Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth, outlined during his keynote address, HHS needs to release even more data in order to enable vendors, data scientists and other researchers to use data in meaningful ways. 

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