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CMS Creates Chief Data Officer Position

November 21, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the formation of the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) to oversee improvements in data collection and dissemination as the agency strives to be more transparent.

The office will be led by Niall Brennan, the agency’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO). According to a CMS news release, OEDA will help the agency better harness its vast data resources to guide decision-making and develop frameworks promoting appropriate external access to and use of data to drive higher quality, patient-centered care at a lower cost.

The creation of this new post and the data and analytics office builds on the steps CMS has taken in recent years to better harness its data resources both internally and externally. CMS is now routinely analyzing claims data in real time and applying predictive analytics to proactively identify fraud and abuse and track key metrics such as hospital readmissions, the agency’s officials say.

“It’s clear how much data transparency will help the country improve outcomes, control costs and aid consumer decision making,” CMS principal deputy administrator Andy Slavitt said in a statement. “This appointment signals to the industry that there is no turning back from the health care data agenda. Niall Brennan will help make sure CMS leads the way.”

Slavitt added, “We can't expect to advance health outcomes unless we also ensure that our policies and practices around data privacy are leading the way. “We look forward to building on the success of recent releases, providing a clearer picture of the healthcare delivery system.”

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