A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

A "Commonwealth Conversation" about ... health databases

A "Commonwealth Conversation" about ... health databases

March 18, 2011

A productive blog conversation is going on now about something fairly wonky, but fairly important. We've blogged before about the state's "All Payer Claims Database (APCD)." The DHCFP database, which will collect health transactions from every possible source in the state, will allow policymaker and researchers to dig into the details of health care costs and utilization in Massachusetts. We think it's critical that the state make the data available as much as possible to all interested persons, with appropriate privacy protections to assure patients that personal information will be not disseminated.

This morning, Paul Levy blogged that leadership on the project had dissipated, and that no one was working to make sure the data gets out. With David Morales leaving the post of DHCFP Commissioner, who will be steering the boat, he asked.

This afternoon, acting DHCFP Commissioner Seena Carrington responded in effect in a post on the state's Commonwealth Conversations blog. Carrington writes that the state continues to convene daily calls on the technical issues (summarized on their website), and will be holding open forums in April to get wide public input on the project. She reaffirms the Division's commitment to public availability of the data, which is not yet in the state's hands.

The conversation highlights the value of our fast social media world in learning and discussing the issues.
-Brian Rosman