Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces through its acting administrator, Andy Slavitt, a new policy that for the first time will allow innovators and entrepreneurs to access CMS data, such as Medicare claims. As part of the Administration’s commitment to use of data and information to drive transformation of the healthcare delivery system, CMS will allow innovators and entrepreneurs to conduct approved research that will ultimately improve care and provide better tools that should benefit health care consumers through a greater understanding of what the data says works best in health care. The data will not allow the patient’s identity to be determined, but will provide the identity of the providers of care.
CMS will begin accepting innovator research requests in September 2015. Innovators and entrepreneurs will access data via the CMS Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC) which provides access to granular CMS program data, including Medicare fee-for-service claims data, in an efficient and cost effective manner. Researchers working in the CMS VRDC have direct access to approved privacy-protected data files and are able to conduct their analysis within a secure CMS environment.