CMS Opens Up Data to Businesses in Bid to Spur Innovation

Acting CMS Administration Andy Slavitt

Acting CMS Administration Andy Slavitt Evan Vucci/AP

Access was previously only given to researchers, according to CMS.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is actively encouraging businesses to build better technology -- using the agency's data.

In a keynote address during the annual "Health Datapalooza" in Washington on Tuesday, acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt announced CMS was for the first time giving businesses access to CMS data, previously only granted to researchers.

Leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services hope these groups can come up with technology that might improve care, possibly by helping health care providers make personalized decisions based on individuals’ data, Slavitt said.

“In taking this step, we are challenging others with proprietary data to follow our lead,” he said.

The agency also plans to update its health data for researchers and businesses more frequently, and in a more machine-readable format, Slavitt added.

“In an information age, it is just not acceptable that the most recent Medicare data available is from 2013," he said.

Slavitt reminded researchers and businesses who are analyzing data to prioritize patient privacy, noting, “progress will simply not be possible without consumer trust.”