CMS and FDA Announce Open Health Data Initiatives
Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released major announcements affecting open data around the same time Health Data Consortium’s Health hosted the 2014 Health Datapolooza (June 1-3). Either way, at the event there was a lot to discuss in regards to using quality data to help improve patient healthcare, and during that week a few major announcements for CMS and FDA open data initiatives worth mentioning.
CMS Open Data Initiatives
Recent CMS announcements elaborated on public healthcare utilization, including the first annual update to the hospital charge data that was released in the spring of 2013 and details for comparing inpatient and outpatient services against average payments for a service.
CMS announced adding analytic tools, such as Geographic Variation Dashboards which show how charges differ between states and county comparisons. With raw data available for download, researchers can review healthcare billing data trends.
Another major release from CMS is a research cohort tool for its Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse to help researchers access demographic profiles and health conditions data of Medicare beneficiaries.
FDA Open Data Initiative
FDA announcements included application programming interface (API) access through OpenFDA to its database of adverse drug reaction reports. OpenFDA provides API and raw download access to structured datasets and is being public beta tested. According an FDA press release on June 2, OpenFDA will make:
… the FDA’s publicly available data accessible in a structured, computer readable format that will make it possible for technology specialists, such as mobile application creators, web developers, data visualization artists and researchers to quickly search, query, or pull massive amounts of public information instantaneously and directly from FDA datasets on an as needed basis.
“OpenFDA is a valuable resource that will help those in the private and public sectors use FDA public data to spur innovation, advance academic research, educate the public, and protect public health,” according to the press release.