Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Colorado Invests in Database

The Colorado Trust and the Colorado Health Foundation in a joint funding effort are providing $4.5 million to launch Colorado’s “All Payer Claims Database (APCD) a tool capable of measuring healthcare costs and utilization throughout the state. Originally, the planning phase for APCD was supported through a grant from the Colorado Trust. The additional $4.6 million in funding is going to support the development, implementation, and management of the APCD.

With the launch of the APCD, the state will join nine other states that already have similar databases in place to identify variations in costs and address disparities in price where the quality and services do not justify a higher bill.

The APCD administered by the Center of Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) is a secure, encrypted data warehouse that will include claims information from all commercial health insurers operating in Colorado as well as Medicaid and Medicare. Scheduled to roll out in the state by the end of 2012, this resource will enable consumers and employers in the state to compare data and make informed choices about purchasing healthcare and coverage issues.

The database will also enable hospitals and other healthcare facilities to identify high cost and often misused patient services, such as unnecessary emergency room visits, and point out where alternative care solutions can have an impact. 

There are indications that thoughtful use of focused data can make a difference. For more than a decade, Mesa County’s providers and payers using claims data to identify new ways to deliver and pay for healthcare has resulted in better outcomes and lower costs for Medicare patients in Mesa County than in almost any other part of the country.

The first APCD reports scheduled to be available at the end of 2012 will prove statewide aggregated overviews of healthcare costs and utilization. As additional data comes into the APCD over the next two years, more detailed analyses of costs and quality by facility and provider type will be generated. Eventually, consumers will be able to view comparative information on a public website.