Physician Payment Data is Where the Action Is

Scott Mace, April 22, 2014

Look beyond the EHR incentive program. A national effort to turn CMS's recent release of Medicare physician payment data into useful, actionable data visualizations is the hottest HIT challenge right now.

The days of building electronic medical record software are over.

Oh sure, EHRs will continue to get built, improved, "skinned," perhaps even reimagined.

But with the EHR incentive program beyond its peak, attention is shifting to other important aspects of the healthcare technology spectrum.

Last week in this space, I described how entire communities are engaging in friendly competition to leverage the many digital breadcrumbs that make up today's total population health picture.

The Way to Wellville effort is a five-year marathon. Health Datapalooza's Code-a-Palooza is an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders, healthcare systems included, to step forward and compete in a national one-month sprint to turn CMS's recent burst of Medicare physician payment data into useful, actionable information for patients and payers alike.

While this data gives patients the opportunity to compare and contrast physician-level data on charges, it is a lot of information to sift through.

That is the challenge for Code-a-Palooza entrants. A collaboration among Health Data Consortium, the ONC and CMS, developers are invited to use the newly released data to create a data visualization that improves consumer decision-making when it comes to selecting a physician or procedure, in turn helping to potentially reduce costs and increase value to the patient.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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