CMS Launches New Database Aimed at Breaking IT Barriers Between Providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week announced a new database that its leaders claim will help foster a more seamless transfer of data between post-acute care facilities.

The Data Element Library (DEL) will allow the public to access various data points that providers are required to report to CMS — including demographic and medical treatment information — in a format that’s standard across multiple provider types.

“We’re excited to add this important building block to the foundation of interoperability that CMS is helping to establish,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “The DEL supports the case and sharing of data and aligns with MyHealthEData, a government-wide effort strengthening the interoperability of health information.”

That initiative, rolled out in March, forms a key part of CMS policy under the Trump administration — specifically the idea that patients should have the ultimate control over their health records. Under the MyHealthEData program, according to Verma, Americans should be allowed to receive electronic copies of all of their medical records, which they can then share freely with other medical professionals and family members.

With the DEL, CMS hopes to make it easier for third-party health IT vendors to include standard Medicare and Medicaid data elements in their programs, thus allowing software from competing firms to “talk” with each other across the continuum. Interoperability — or lack thereof — has long been a thorn in the side of providers that need to keep track of a single patient’s progress as he or she moves through multiple different providers.

“For example, when a patient moves from a rehabilitation hospital to a skilled nursing facility, then from that facility to home under the care of a home health agency, the transfer of the patient’s health record from one facility to the next will be much easier because they are all ‘speaking the same language,’” CMS noted in its release about the new system.

Written by Alex Spanko

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Alex Spanko
Alex covers the long-term health care industry for Aging Media Network, with a specific interest in the intersection of finance and policy. Outside of work, he reads nonfiction, experiments in the kitchen, yells at Mets games, and enjoys pretty much any type of whiskey or scotch — often all at the same time.

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