The Mother Lode of Medical Data

I might be exaggerating in my title here, but this is very good news for everyone*.

As quoted from USA Today “For the first time since the 1970s, the Center for Medicare Services has released Medicare reimbursement information by doctor and procedure, creating a portrait of the average Medicare payment per doctor and how much of the charge was reimbursed in 2012.”

I have talked about medical transparency (see here) and this will be great for researchers. I just listened to this being discussed on NPR and I still need to look things over.

*Of course there is always two sides of the story and there are those that favor continuation of the status quo. I heard that the American Medical Association opposed this because of possibility for misinterpretation. That is true, but I think that my opinion of the AMA was probably not very high, and this news will not cause any movement in the upward direction. (I just noticed that with access to the data I need to agree to an AMA license with regard to the Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) used within the data set.

I am just downloading the provider data for doctors with last name starting with O,P and Q. It looks like a 115MB excel file.  This is so interesting I am tempted to have a web site and blog just around this data release. I think that some people will be kept busy sleuthing through all this data available here.