CMS Expands Access to Claims Data | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

CMS Expands Access to Claims Data

June 3, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is opening up its claims data for private entrepreneurs and researchers to use more frequently, the agency announced this week at Health Datapalooza.
The new policy will allow entities to submit research requests to use the data to improve the healthcare system. The researchers will be allowed to make the requests on a quarterly basis. Traditionally, any claims data available from CMS has only been available on an annual basis.
Once their requests are approved, the innovators will have access in CMS' new Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC). The VRDC will include granular CMS program data, such as Medicare fee-for-service claims data. Researchers working in the VRDC will have direct access to approved privacy-protected data files, which does not include patient identity. However, it will include the provider's identity.
CMS notes that researchers also will not be allowed to remove patient-level data from the VRDC. They will only be able to download aggregated, privacy-protected reports and results to their own personal workstation.
“Historically, CMS has prohibited researchers from accessing detailed CMS data if they intended to use it to develop products or tools to sell,” Niall Brennan, CMS chief data officer and director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics, said at Health Datapalooza. “However, as the delivery system transforms from rewarding volume to value, data will play a key role. We hope that this new policy will lead to additional innovation and insights from the CMS data.”
The announcement is part of CMS' open data movement. Earlier this week at Health Datapalooza, it published its physician and supplier utilization and payment data for the second straight year. 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Adam Boehler Tapped by Azar to Serve as Senior Value-Based Care Advisor

Adam Boehler, currently director of CMMI, has also been named the senior advisor for value-based transformation and innovation, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced.

Vivli Launches Clinical Research Data-Sharing Platform

On July 19 a new global data-sharing and analytics platform called Vivli was unveiled. The nonprofit group’s mission is to promote, coordinate and facilitate scientific sharing and reuse of clinical research data.

Survey: More Effective IT Needed to Improve Patient Safety

In a Health Catalyst survey, physicians, nurses and healthcare executives said ineffective information technology, and the lack of real-time warnings for possible harm events, are key obstacles to achieving their organizations' patient safety goals.

Physicians Still Reluctant to Embrace Virtual Tech, Survey Finds

While consumers and physicians agree that virtual healthcare holds great promise for transforming care delivery, physicians still remain reluctant to embrace the technologies, according to a new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey.

Geisinger, AstraZeneca Partner on Asthma App Suite

Geisinger has partnered with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to create a suite of products that integrate into the electronic health record and engage asthma patients and their providers in co-managing the disease.

Analysis: Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Decline in First Half of 2018

In the first half of 2018, ransomware events in major healthcare data breaches diminished substantially compared to the same time period last year, as cyber attackers move on to more profitable activities, such as cryptojacking, according to a new report form cybersecurity firm Cryptonite.