CMS Launches Chief Data Officer Position

Mike Miliard | Healthcare IT News | November 20, 2014

'There is no turning back from the healthcare data agenda'

Earlier this month, we reported how healthcare is increasingly embracing a new C-suite position: chief data officer. Now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is getting in on the act, with the appointment of its first CDO, Niall Brennan.  As it launches the new Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics, or OEDA, to be led by Brennan and tasked with overseeing improvements in data collection and dissemination, CMS aims to make the enormous agency more transparent.  OEDA will help CMS make better use of its data resources, officials say, helping to develop frameworks or open access wherever appropriate, and to put data to work driving higher quality, more patient-centered care at a lower cost.

"It's clear how much data transparency will help the country improve outcomes, control costs and aid consumer decision making," said CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt, in a press statement. "This appointment signals to the industry that there is no turning back from the healthcare data agenda. Niall Brennan will help make sure CMS leads the way."

Prior to being appointed chief data officer, Brennan served as acting director of CMS' Offices of Enterprise Management, in charge of efforts related to data, information technology and business operations. He directed research and analysis and helped develop the agency's privacy and confidentiality policies.  With a trove of information critical to decision-making for various healthcare stakeholders – data related to Medicare, Medicaid, the EHR Incentive Programs, quality measurement, health insurance exchanges and more – CMS has more raw data at its disposal than ever, officials pointed out...