HHS expands access to government claims data

Healthcare researchers and entrepreneurs will get easier access to public payer claims data under an expanded partnership between the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and data analytics firm Archimedes.

The program will use Archimedes' simulation software to allow users to analyze the Medicare Data Entrepreneurs' Synthetic Public Use File (DE-SynPUF). Data entrepreneurs and researchers will be able to use the synthetic data to develop research protocols that will ultimately help users make informed decisions based on the data, according to an announcement.

The Archimedes software and its mathematical modeling capabilities were first tested a year ago by government departments and agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute and the Food & Drug Administration.

"HHS is committed to furthering the power of data [and] maximize the availability and use of the Medical DE-SynPUF dataset," Bryan Sivak, chief technology officer at HHS, said in the statement. The technology allow users to access to this data in an "easy-to-use platform that will allow them to customize their analysis queries, yielding more meaningful results."

One example: Users can now quickly query and analyze the dataset to understand the rates of various outcomes for specific Medicare populations, such patients by health condition, age criterion, medication use or a combination of these factors. 

Archimedes was developed with support from Kaiser Permanente. In 2007, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio gave the company a $15.6 million grant to support the creation of its program, known as ARCHeS.

The datasets are available on www.healthdata.gov.

To learn more:
- read the announcement