Transparency Marks New Health Care Approach to Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is making several large data sets available to the general public for the first time. Now, those curious about costs and practices can review Medicare’s figures for inpatient and outpatient charges for 2012, and compare them year over year to 2011. CMS is also releasing data related to chronic conditions and to geographic variations. The information can be managed by a dashboard interface that allows for easy access by a general audience, not just to health professionals and researchers. With this move, yet another veil drops from in front of the mysterious Oz machine that has been standard operating procedure in health care for too long. From consumers who want to make more informed choices to entrepreneurs looking for trends on which to launch innovations, this new transparency is good medicine for a sickly medical system.

John Howell, Editorial Director