HHS Secretary Nominee Highlights Data, Analytics and Transparency

May 12, 2014 in News

In the first of two confirmation hearings, Sylvia Mathews Burwell — President Obama’s nominee to replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — touched on the importance of using data and analytics in the health care sector, EHR Intelligence reports.

During the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing last week, Burwell indicated that her personal leadership approach emphasizes:

  • Analytics;
  • Collaboration; and
  • Data.

In particular, she stressed that she values transparency and accuracy, according to EHR Intelligence.

Burwell’s Comments

During the hearing, Burwell said it is “important” to base decisions on data in order to ensure you “get the largest impact you can.”

In addition, she highlighted the effect that data and analytics can have in finding national solutions to issues facing HHS and other government agencies. According to EHR Intelligence, Burwell in her testimony explained that data and analytics can support the move from volume-based to value-based health care if they are appropriately implemented.

Burwell also stressed the need for a balanced approach in care coordination in terms of information sharing and promotion of competition. She said care coordination programs need to determine whether their success is based on a single provider or whether it is based on “a standardized approach and information” (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 5/9).

Burwell also emphasized the need to promote greater transparency as an important part of transforming health care.

For example, she mentioned HHS’ recent release of online provider payment information for Medicare Part B, saying that while the data were valuable, it is “also important as we think through this information to make sure it has context when we put out the information, making sure that individuals and others can use it in a way that it is given the appropriate context … Because the data without that can sometimes be something that doesn’t provide the insights that one would hope it would” (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 5/8).

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