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Feds Prepare to Make More Health Data Public

U.S. Senators are seeking tips from a variety of medical and insurance groups about how to make health data easier to use.

Two U.S. lawmakers are looking to health care providers, insurance companies and consumers for advice on how to make digital health data easier to use.

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have sent a letter to approximately 200 organizations seeking input on what reforms they’d like to see in transparency rules for health information. Responses are due by Aug. 12.

According to the StarTribune, in Minnesota the letter went to Gov. Mark Dayton, Hennepin County, the Mayo Clinic, Medronic Inc. and St. Jude Medical Inc. The senators want to know what formats data would best be presented in and what barriers exist to more efficient data use.

Input isn’t being restricted to just the 200 groups, however. Public responses can be filed by sending an email to All responses will be public.

The StarTribune noted that the federal request is coming as Uncle Sam prepares to release data on the financial relationships between health care providers and vendors. The disclosures will be the first batch of data required by the Physician Sunshine Act which was part of the national health reform law. That information will be released online on Sept. 30.

Brian Heaton was a writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines from 2011 to mid-2015.