Following the release of Medicare data by the Obama administration April 9, patients can now perform a check-up on their doctors. According to AARP, the data reveals information on $77 billion in payments to 880,000 health care providers. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries can now look up doctors to see the number of procedures they've performed and how much they were paid by the government program.
The source reported that the release of the data was a key factor in determining the overall value of care being provided to patients and that the Obama Administration said is good transparency for consumers.
According to AARP, the data is also good for researchers as they can use it to compare costs and efficiencies among doctors and help beneficiaries find better care.
Of course, one should always exercise caution when using the data. It may show that a physician has done more surgeries on patients with Medicare although several procedures have been performed on those who do not have Medicare, according to the source. As a result, some say the information doesn't always provide beneficiaries looking at the data with a full scope of a doctor's practice.
Officials also hope the release of the information will help to locate fraud in a program, AARP reported.