The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is opening up its data to entrepreneurs and other private-sector innovators, allowing them for the first time to use the information for commercial purposes. The news was announced during the Health Datapalooza event by acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt.
“Today’s announcement is aimed directly at shaking up healthcare innovation and setting a new standard for data transparency,” Slavitt said. “We expect a stream of new tools for beneficiaries and care providers that improve care and personalize decision-making.”
Specifically, private entities will be able to submit research requests starting in September. However, researchers will only be able to access the data — including the Medicare fee-for-service claims database — for approved projects, and they will have to purchase subscriptions to the CMS Virtual Research Data Center.
Nevertheless, this is significant news that paves the way for innovative companies to increase the efficiency of the (healthcare) system.
“We hope that this new policy will lead to additional innovation and insights from the CMS data,” CMS Chief Data Officer Niall Brennan said.
Also, starting in August, CMS will release research data quarterly rather than annually, with about a three-month “completion lag.”