Transparency is a current, pervasive theme in our evolving healthcare system, thanks to new requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Announced at the recent Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, DC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is furthering the push toward consumer insight and more free-flowing healthcare information by “opening several, large data sets for consumers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to use,” Modern Healthcare reports.
By releasing the 2012 data, CMS allows outsiders to compare year-over-year data on such topics as most common inpatient stays, prevalence of chronic conditions, and costs of treatment. The goal of CMS’ unlocked data is to make healthcare information easily accessible and understandable to all citizens.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is releasing openFDA, a database geared toward developers and researchers wishing to gain access to FDA data. According to the program’s website, openFDA is a new initiative under the Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation spearheaded by FDA’s Chief Health Informatics Officer Taha Kass-Hout, and it is currently focused on three specific data sets—adverse events, recalls, and documentation. Via raw download access, individuals have “easy access to FDA public data and highlight projects using these data in both the public and private sector to further regulatory or scientific missions, educate the public, and save lives.”
In the past, these vast data sets could be difficult for industry representatives to access and use,” Kass-Hout stated in a recent FDAVoice blog post. “Pharmaceutical companies, for example, send hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests to FDA every year.”