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Medicaid Is Finally Catching Up To The Information Age

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Medicaid Is Finally Catching Up To The Information Age

The ins and outs of medicaid has been a mystery to most Americans. With so many households utilizing the program, one of the oldest in history- is getting a data update.

Jini Kim founded the  San Francisco based start-up, Nuna, while working with the federal government. Nuna had been working to build a cloud-computing database of the nation’s 74 million Medicaid patients and their treatment and history.

Medicaid, which provides healthcare to low-income people, many of whom are aging or in retirement as well as the disabled, is administered state by state.

Extracting, cleaning and curating the information from so many disparate and dated computer systems was an extraordinary achievement, health and technology specialists say. With all of this data cleaned up and organized, this collection of data gives us a real time look at the hotly debated topic of Medicaid spending.

Andrew M. Slavitt, acting director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, described the cloud database as “near historic.” Largely because Medicaid information resides in so many state-level computing silos, Mr. Slavitt explained, “we’ve never had a systemwide view across the program.”

Health data such as billing, diagnostic and treatment information, are typically recorded in shorthand codes which is not very useful overall- But if it can be organized and analyzed economically and quickly, this data can be vital in transforming health care.

The health care marketplace in the traditional fee-for-service model values volume. More doctor visits, hospital stays, operations and pills mean more revenue and profit for healthcare providers. As technology grows, the healthcare industry could evolve into a value based model of business, providing patients with better care overall.

 In the value model, medical groups are paid for outcomes: patients treated more efficiently and people who are healthier. This transition is only possible with accurate, reliable data that can be used to measure outcomes and discover what works and what doesn’t.

The data that NUNA creates will be vital in identifying valuable information before it is released to researchers. The new cloud-based technology is using internet-era software and is flexible and interactive. This process will open the door to explore real-time monitoring of emerging disease clusters, billing patterns and program effects, in the hopes of eliminating waste and giving patients a well rounded experience in their healthcare needs

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