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Physician Payment Data is Where the Action Is

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 22, 2014

That will invite in the controversy, because just looking at cost without the associated quality measures is bound to be taken out of context by someone somewhere. To some extent, because the newly released data hasn't been poured into apps as easy to use as Yelp, some of that controversy hasn't erupted yet. And there's always the possibility that a Yelp-style app won't capture the nuance or the inherent value of a medical encounter. The ensuing outcry could simply be added to all the other perceived outrages of our public healthcare debate.

Still, Spradlin pointed out that in the initial flush of reportage after April 9, reporters and healthcare critics were able to go after apparently inflated costs.

"It took all of about a day for them to start finding which providers had the highest billing numbers," Spradlin said. "But it certainly won't be the last word." Geographic variations, socioeconomic variables and other deep population analysis "may be the most interesting of all. Some of that could come out of this competition. People will be analyzing this data for months and months. I think the least interesting thing is actually what got published on April 10."

Every time more of this data gets released, a network effect will kick in, with new opportunities to correlate previously-released data with the new.

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1 comments on "Physician Payment Data is Where the Action Is"


James Davis (4/22/2014 at 2:27 PM)
The challenge for Code-a-Palooza entrants is not designing a program to deliver the CMS data in a consumer friendly format. It would be a relatively easy task to develop a Medicare Fees Online database or incorporate the data by integration into other solutions. But due to the license restrictions on CPT, there is no way to commercialize the project. The AMA does not allow per transaction licenses for CPT data, and the license agreement included in the downloaded material reinforces those restrictions. So while this can certainly be built, it will likely wind up being something offered by CMS, like the current CPT with RVS code search program. James B. Davis, President PMIC http://pmiconline.com P.S. PMIC tried to bring CPT into the public domain back in the early 2000s. Lookup PMIC vs AMA.