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Data Changes the Doctors' Game

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 23, 2012

Dr. Data, you are being paged. Please respond.

For physicians, data sharing with the government is becoming essential and will impact how they get paid, receive bonuses or are penalized. While the data collection process is crucial, Niall Berman, director of the CMS Office of Information Products and Analysis, concedes it's fraught with uncertainty among providers.

Physicians have to realize, he said at a recent Washington D.C. conference, that "the game has changed."

At the daylong eHealth Iniative session on data and analytics this month, Berman cited one hot-button data sharing area the government is working on as it slowly moves from a fee-for-service world to a value-based one in healthcare. That sensitive area? It's determining physicians' pay.

Earlier this year, in a pilot program, CMS sent confidential reports to certain groups of physicians to allow them to "quantify and compare" their quality of care with peers, a data-sharing exercise that would ultimately impact their payments.

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