Healthcare IT Initiatives at CMS

by Stephanie Sullivan, Consultant

Government health IT experts from HHS, DoD/VA, and industry shared their knowledge at the recent, “Applying Technology for Improved Health Information and Management” seminar, presented by immixGroup and Federal Computer Week.  Sarah Wholey from Market Connections, Inc., wrote an insightful article on Captain Michael Weiner’s perspective into VA healthcare challenges and promising opportunities.

Vish Sankaran, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was a keynote speaker at the event. He discussed CMS’ new initiative, KDI, a data and analytics infrastructure intended to improve care and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse.

Sankaran said that CMS currently has 98 million beneficiaries, and processes 2.5 billion Part A, B & D claims per year, and that the customer base is expanding, responsibilities are growing, and budget is limited. Existing tools were not built for the tasks CMS now faces—CMS requires better tools and quicker insights.

CMS data is redundant across multiple locations, Sankaran said. This increases both cost and risk. Over time, the organization has come to a number of realizations, according to Sankaran. A single database is not the answer, he said. Further, one data storage method won’t solve the challenge of analyzing claims and providing timely information and insights. Finally, the organization “needs more minds to look at our problems,” which requires creating platforms that will allow ideas to become tools that can support informed decision-making.

KDI offers the simplicity of a search engine with the usability of an application store, where what is best is actually determined by the users. The goal of KDI is to create a common data infrastructure, where program data can be collected, organized, and disseminated for maximum value. All of that must be done while ensuring privacy and security, and democratizing development of applications, according to Sakuran. With KDI, CMS hopes to reduce data complexity and redundancy, while creating platforms that will enable a vibrant marketplace with more easy-to-use data analysis tools.

With these valuable IT solutions we hope that both the VA and CMS are on their way in transforming health care. To learn more about the event, read our recent press release.

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