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Medicare Data Release Spurs Health Tech Innovations

Image of data.medicare.gov homepageThis post was written by Cassidy Hayes.

On April 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a pool of Medicare payment data to the public. The data detail a year’s worth of services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by more than 880,000 U.S. doctors — including the payments that these doctors received. Although the implications of this data for health care resource management are still unknown, some health information technology geeks have taken advantage of the newly transparent data to improve health literacy.

One California-based software company is utilizing Medicare’s claims data in a new app geared toward seniors. The app, which will provide senior-specific information on various medical procedures, is meant to empower seniors to start informed conversations with their doctors about how much a procedure will cost, and what expenses they should expect. At CommunicateHealth, we’re passionate about incorporating health data into tools that inspire informed health behaviors — which is why this idea caught our eye.

In fact, the same software company won a 2013 Mobile App Challenge for building the “myfamily” app for healthfinder.gov — the award-winning federal health website that CommunicateHealth has written consumer health content for since 2007. Like our fellow health literacy and consumer health advocates, we think transparent health expenditure data is great — especially when they’re transformed into actionable tools to help people make smarter decisions about their health.

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