CMS' Jason McNamara: Keep challenging data

Analyzing the massive amounts of data flowing through the Medicaid program is one of the main focuses of his job, Jason McNamara, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services senior technical director of Medicaid health IT, tells Healthcare Informatics in an interview.

That initiative will be a high priority over the next year, he says, as CMS creates systems at the state and federal level to make sense out of all the information.

In addition, as more data becomes available for people to access and analyze, CMS must make sure there is continual communication across all systems, he adds.

"Let's keep challenging the data, keep asking questions, and if we have asked so many questions and challenged different pieces, then we have created this fog, but we could sift through that to find direction and truth," he says.

McNamara adds that making use of the data requires the industry to work together as a collective to move forward.

CMS' Chief Data Officer Niall Brennan has also spoken about the importance and value of data for CMS, saying in March that it is time for the agency to have all its "data ducks in a row."

While CMS works to tackle and analyze all the data flowing though its systems, many healthcare facilities try to do the same but lag behind. Only 10 percent of organizations use advanced tools to capitalize on information, according to a survey from KPMG. Respondents said barriers remain to effective use of analytics tools, including having unstandardized data in silos, lack of technology infrastructure, and data and analytics skills gaps.

To learn more:
- here's the Healthcare Informatics interview