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CMS Announces ‘Data Driven Patient Care Strategy’

In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new initiative called “MyHealthEData,” designed to allow patients to control their own health data and make it portable from provider to provider. In late April, CMS announced a “Data Driven Patient Care Strategy” to advance that initiative.

The first cornerstone of the strategy, “Putting Patients First,” involves implementation of Blue Button 2.0, an initiative aimed at allowing Medicare beneficiaries to securely manage their own data.

“Blue Button 2.0 is a developer friendly, standards-based API [application programming interface] that enables Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to the applications, services, and research programs they choose,” CMS says.

The second goal of the new strategy is to allow researchers additional access to Medicare encounter and claims information in the “hope that this data will be used to conduct research that helps drive innovation and competition in the healthcare system and, ultimately, help doctors and patients make the best choices about care.”

The first data to be released in this fashion will be 2015 Medicare Advantage encounter data. Files for inpatient, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient, home health, carrier/provider, and durable medical goods all will be available.

The third component of CMS’s new strategy involves taking an “API approach” to data exchange to incentivize the private health IT sector to improve data transmission. “This API increases the speed of submitting Medicare quality measures, and reduces reporting burden. The industry response has been extremely positive,” CMS said in its press release.

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