US, UK launch health data sharing cloud

The United States and the United Kingdom plan to consolidate de-identified data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Health Service, making it available on a cloud-based research platform.

According to an announcement, the MedRed BT Health Cloud (MBHC) will be "one of the world's largest open health data repositories in order to improve quality care, enhance patient safety and speed development of innovative drugs and medical technologies."

The Obama administration chose MedRed as the platform to support the program, part of the Big Data Research and Development initiative.

Currently, the system has data from England, Scotland and Wales, such as physician encounters, acute care interventions, pharmacy history and health outcomes data. "Integration of this data with U.S. data and the addition of advanced analytics hold great potential to help speed the development of products and practices that will advance healthcare and improve the health and well-being of people around the world," the announcement states.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday announced a new data sharing tool to aid researchers' access CMS data.

The tool--the CMS Virtual Data Center (VRDC)--is also part of president Obama's Big Data Research and Development Initiative, and was introduced at a White House event.

The VRDC is a secure means for researchers to virtually access and analyze CMS data. It allows researchers to look at Medicare data at a lower cost, to use a secure virtual desktop to do so, and to refresh data analyses routinely instead of waiting for physical data delivery.

To learn more:
- read the announcement from MedRed

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