Finance Committee chairman seeks input on health data transparency

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWeek ahead: Senate takes up surveillance bill This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump MORE (D-Ore.) is asking the healthcare world for its input on how big data could promote reform.

In a letter to roughly 100 stakeholder groups and individuals, Wyden and Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report MORE (R-Iowa) posed broad questions about how data transparency could benefit their work.

"Increased access to data is already giving providers, consumers, payer and others with powerful resources for improving our healthcare system, and yet significant data gaps continue to exist and limit the full potential," the letter stated.

"What reforms would help reduce the unnecessary fragmentation of healthcare data? What reforms would improve the accessibility and usability of healthcare data for consumers, payer and providers?"

The letter provides a glimpse into one of Wyden's interests and priorities as the new Finance Committee chairman.

The Oregon Democrat has repeatedly touted moves by the Obama administration under the healthcare law to publish data on hospital prices and Medicare billing by physicians.

Grassley, meanwhile, is a longtime transparency advocate who wrote a bill requiring disclosure of ties between doctors and industry. The measure passed as part of ObamaCare.

Groups were asked to respond by Aug. 12.