Skip to content Skip to navigation

CMS Launches New Data Sharing Tool

November 13, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the launch of a new data sharing tool to help researchers virtually access and analyze CMS’ store of healthcare data.  

The tool—the CMS Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC)—was unveiled on November 12 at the White House event “Data to Knowledge to Action: Building New Partnerships” as part of President Obama's Big Data Research and Development Initiative.

Researchers using the VRDC will access CMS data from their own workstations and will be able to perform analyses and manipulate data within the VRDC.  Historically, CMS has filled researchers’ data requests by preparing and shipping encrypted data files.  However, given the rapidly-growing demand for timelier Medicare and Medicaid data, the agency needs a less resource-intensive means of responding to data requests from researchers.  The VRDC will help CMS meet these demands while also ensuring data privacy and security and reducing the cost of data access for most users, according to CMS officials.

Using the VRDC, researchers will be able to access Medicare data at a significantly lower cost. Physical delivery of a large sample of Medicare Parts A, B, and D data can cost more than $100,000 for just one year of data.  In contrast, using the VRDC, a single researcher conducting one project over the course of the year can access as much Medicare data as he or she needs for approximately $40,000, CMS officials say.

Additionally, researchers will not need to maintain expensive data infrastructures of their own because they will access the data in a CMS environment by means of a secure virtual desktop.  Due to the time-consuming nature of physical data delivery, CMS generally only has shipped data to researchers on an annual basis in the past.  However, researchers using the VRDC now will be able to refresh their data analyses routinely.

The VRDC also offers greater security for CMS to share data with researchers.  The protection of beneficiary privacy continues to be a priority for CMS when sharing data.  Under the VRDC model, sensitive individually-identifiable information about beneficiaries remains in the CMS data environment, which helps safeguard against breaches or unauthorized uses of the data, say officials.

We’re acutely aware of the huge potential that CMS data holds for creating a more efficient, higher quality health care system, and researchers play a large part in this transformation,” CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.  “By providing researchers with secure, timely, and affordable access to CMS data, the agency is making it easier to do the important research that will lay the foundation for better quality and lower costs in the healthcare system.”

 

Health IT Summit Series - Focus: CYBER-SECURITY

Get the latest information on Cyber-Security, and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day, intimate event bringing together C-level, physician, practice management and IT decision makers for strategy discussions, knowledge exchange, and one-on-one meetings.

Boston, June 23-24   |   Denver, July 12-13
Topics

News

CommonWell Adds eHealth Initiative, DICOM Grid, and Others to Its Growing Alliance

May 4, 2016
The CommonWell Health Alliance announced this week that 11 new members have joined its effort to enhance nationwide health data exchange.

Johns Hopkins Research Finds Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.; Author Asks CDC to Change ICD Coding System to Record Medical Errors

May 4, 2016
A just-published study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers finds 400,000 deaths a year due to medical errors in hospitals.

Health IT Stakeholders Question ONC’s Authority in Proposed EHR Certification Rule

May 3, 2016
Industry stakeholders have given the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) feedback for a proposed rule that would give the agency more power in overseeing and reviewing electronic health records (EHR) and other health IT products.

New Senate Bill Proposes Using Project ECHO as National Model for Rural Care

May 3, 2016
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have introduced the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act with the aim of expanding New Mexico’s Project ECHO as a national model for using telehealth for rural care.

NATE, CommonWell Come Together for Interoperability Goals

May 3, 2016
The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) and CommonWell Health Alliance have announced that each would become a member of the other’s organization, agreeing to establish a complementary relationship with the goal of enhancing cross-vendor interoperability.

MIPS Mobile Challenge Aims to Give Clinicians Real-Time Information and Assistance

May 3, 2016
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a competition to develop a mobile platform to help educate physicians and clinicians about the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program.

CMS Finalizes Its Quality Measure Program

May 3, 2016
Officials at CMS on Tuesday posted the agency’s finalized Quality Measurement Program on its website, focusing on identifying known measurement and performance gaps and developing measures in six key quality “domains”

Survey: Most Digital Health Users Are Not Using EHRs to Manage Their Health

May 2, 2016
While 60 percent of consumers who use digital health tools say they have an electronic health record (EHR), only 22 percent of these patients are accessing EHRs to help make medical decisions, according to a survey by HealthMine.

GOP Senators Want Feds to Include Hospitals for MU Flexibility

May 2, 2016
Six GOP senators have written to federal officials to request feedback on legislation they drafted that would address the ongoing issues with implementation of the meaningful use program.

Last Day to Submit to the Healthcare Informatics 100

May 2, 2016
The Healthcare Informatics 100 has been up and running, but the submission process is ending today. Vendors, you only have one day to submit your data!

CHIME Calls for More Transparent, Uniform Interoperability Standards for Medical Devices

April 29, 2016
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collaborate with other federal agencies to ensure that medical devices are truly interoperable with electronic heath records (EHR) systems.

Survey: EHR Switches Resulted in Higher Than Expected Costs, Layoffs

April 29, 2016
Four years after what market research firm Black Book calls the inpatient electronic health record (EHR) “replacement frenzy,” surveyed clinicians expressed many doubts about the benefits of switching systems.

Healthcare Informatics Recognized with Four ASHPE Awards

April 29, 2016
Healthcare Informatics has been recognized by the American Society for Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) with four awards as part of the ASHPE’s 2016 Awards Competition.

Truven Health Analytics Identifies 15 Top Health Systems Based on Clinical, Administrative Performance

April 28, 2016
A study by Truven Health Analytics found that the top-performing multi-hospital health systems in the U.S. achieved higher survival rates and fewer errors at a lower overall treatment cost.

Report: Privilege Misuse and End User Errors Leading Threats to Healthcare Security

April 28, 2016
End users are often the weakest link in an organization’s cyber defense as cyber criminals exploit human nature to execute attack patterns such as phishing, according to Verizon Enterprise’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Pages