The CMS has named Niall Brennan as essentially its first Big Data czar.
Brennan will head the new Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics at the CMS as its first chief data officer, “tasked with overseeing improvements in data collection and dissemination as the agency strives to be more transparent,” according to a CMS announcement Wednesday.
Brennan, who has been serving as the acting director of the CMS' Offices of Enterprise Management, was appointed to the newly created position after leading various CMS data programs and initiatives at OEM.
“It's clear how much data transparency will help the country improve outcomes, control costs and aid consumer decisionmaking,” CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said in the 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.”
As the CMS continues payment reforms, changing from volume-based, fee-for-service reimbursements to those focused on outcomes and coordination of care, “the need for CMS to analyze data across its multiple programs and provide greater access to this data, whether in granular or aggregate form, will only intensify,” the statement said.
Before coming to the CMS, Brennan was with the Brookings Institution “where he directed a range of efforts to better measure both the quality and cost of healthcare,” according to a bio on the CMS website.
He also served as a senior analyst at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and as an analyst of various federal healthcare programs for the Congressional Budget Office, and pulled stints at the Urban Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University and is a graduate of University College, Dublin.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn