From Geography to Medicare? A Fresh Perspective on CMS Medicare Geographic Variation Dashboard

How is geographic variation immersed in medicare to provide better user experience? Thanks to the CMS Medicare Geographic Variation Dashboard developed by the OEDA or Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics at CMS, users can now access state and country level variances in standard per capital costs for Medicare fee for service target population. What is the unique benefit of this innovative dashboard? Well, it standardizes spending to eliminate geographic variations in payment rates for individual services as a source of difference. But users should be clear standardized costs in the dashboard are not scaled to actual costs for the studied target population.

So, what is the reason this unique dashboard provides hi tech solutions? Total standardized per capita costs are less than the actual through the removal of extra payments made by Medicare (this includes medical education payments and payment to those healthcare facilities that serve more low income patients). The dashboard provides total standardized per capital spending as well as spending by type of service. What makes this dashboard intuitive is that its interactive format permits users to select the year and indicator they want displayed.

Data for a given state/county can also be compared to the national average. County Geographic Variation Dashboard contains extensive information and more than five years of data for as many as 3150 US counties. Other apps are being built to use this consumer friendly data. For example, MicroStrategy has developed an app that includes State Level Geographic Variation and Chronic Conditions dashboard. Open government and open data movement has been revolutionized thanks to this innovative dashboard. Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services have announced the Medicare Geographic Variation tool as an unbeatable way to understand how to utilize Medicare data and how it varies across regions.

What's really making this dashboard user friendly is that it allows non technical users to access data through a simple interface. So, you don't need to have knowledge about advanced analytics. All you need to do is open the state or county level dashboards and get started right away. State level tools provide a summary of how standardized costs of the state compare to national averages as a total and across specific segments like Inpatient, post Acute Care and Hospice services.

You also get an idea of state cost trends and how it compares to national trends over a time period. County dashboard provides comparisons of numbers across every county in the state and how costs stack up to national and state per capital costs. Individual counties can also be selected and their costs compared to the state average, using this hi-tech interactive dashboard. Vast and growing number of new dashboard development innovations are changing the way people access, use and consume data. With CMS Medicare Geographic Variation Dashboard changing the way people see Medicare data, surely this is a sign of the future where users are equipped with easy to use yet complex tools that make life simpler.