CMS To Revamp Medicare Compare Websites
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working on new improvements to Medicare.gov to help patients find health care providers in different settings across the care continuum. Later this year, CMS plans to launch a simplified and consistent online experience to make it easier for consumers to find and compare care, while also meeting the needs of industry stakeholders who search data that are important to them. These improvements build on past efforts under the eMedicare initiative, which aims to deliver customized information that beneficiaries want and need.
Currently, Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers use eight separate Compare tools (Hospital, Nursing Home, Home Health, Dialysis Facility, Long-term Care Hospital, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, Physician and Hospice) on Medicare.gov to find and compare doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. Although they are among the most popular and used sections of the Medicare website, each one functions independently with varying user interfaces that make them difficult to understand and challenging to navigate.
To meet the needs of today’s Medicare beneficiaries and improve the online Medicare customer experience, CMS plans to combine and standardize these eight existing Compare tools, allowing users to access the same information through a single point of entry and simplified navigation to find the information that is currently divided in places like Nursing Home Compare and Hospital Compare. The new “Medicare Care Compare” on Medicare.gov will offer users a consistent look and feel, providing a streamlined experience to meet their individual needs in accessing information about health care providers and care settings. In the new, unified experience, patients will be able to easily find the information that is most important to help make health care decisions, like getting quality data by the type of health care provider.
CMS is also working to develop an improved companion portal that Medicare researchers and stakeholders can use to access the more detailed data that are important to them. This new “Provider Data Catalog” will reside on CMS.gov. It will have an improved interface and intuitive search features to allow users to easily search and download CMS’ publicly reported data, better serving stakeholders who use the interactive and downloadable datasets like those currently found on data.Medicare.gov. Importantly, all data sets will be made available via an Application Programming Interface (API) from the Provider Data Catalog.