HHS, CMS Launching New Initiatives That Use Data to Improve Health Care

By Genevieve Douglas  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has created a new Office of Information Products and Data Analysis (OIPDA) that will oversee the agency's use and dissemination of data about the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The new office will make the development, management, use, and dissemination of data and information a core function of CMS, Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Bill Corr told attendees of the 2012 Health Datapalooza in Washington on June 5.

The new CMS office will also enhance the agency's data analytics and management strategies that are promoted through programs by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, according to an HHS release.

OIPDA will oversee the use of data and information as CMS evolves from a fee-for-service based payer to a “value-based purchaser of care” that links payments to quality and efficiency of care rather than volume of services, Corr said.

HHS also has created a new committee to assess how to better use data within the department and make health data more widely available for improving care delivery, Corr said.

HHS is also launching a catalog of new data sets for technology developers, and the agency is taking steps to develop a digital workforce of information technology specialists for the federal agencies, Corr added.

“The success and usefulness of our own data and government initiatives will be determined by our work together,” Corr said.

Additional CMS Data Initiatives.

The overall goal of OIPDA is to modernize CMS's data systems and policies, and help the agency improve health care delivery, HHS said in a press release.

Data and information resources available under the CMS initiative include:

• a Medicare geographic variation trend dataset that aggregates information from nearly 5 billion Medicare claims in an easy-to-use data format to provide key metrics at the state and hospital referral region levels;

• an online Medicare enrollment dashboard that provides a single location for finding comprehensive enrollment statistics for Medicare Parts A, B, and D and Medicare Advantage;

• the Medicare & Medicaid Research Review online journal on current and future directions of the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance programs; and

• the CMS Data Navigator, a web-based search tool that connects researchers, policymakers, and the general public to the CMS data resources they need.


OIPDA also will coordinate the agency's data policies and requirements to ensure that the data policies and requirements align with the agency's other data policies and requirements, HHS said.

According to a CMS fact sheet, OIPDA will ensure that new initiatives to make data more accessible to researchers, developers, and others will follow privacy laws and rules.

Information on the HHS health data initiatives is available at http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/hdi/index.html.

A CMS fact sheet on the announcements is available at http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.