Industry and physicians preparing to comply with federal sunshine provisions have a new resource available. To facilitate tracking and reviewing OPEN PAYMENTS Data, CMS has released two mobile applications (apps): one for physicians and one for applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs. Use of the apps is optional and both are available for download now for iOS (Apple™) and Android™ mobile phones.
CMS announced the new apps on its Official Website for the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: OPEN PAYMENTS. The new apps are available just two weeks before data collection is required starting August 1, 2013. For a variety of reasons, manufacturers and physicians are concerned with facilitating data collection and ensuring the accuracy of information reported to CMS; these include, for instance, complying with the law, maintaining industry/provider relationships, managing reputations, reducing disputes, avoiding penalties, and minimizing administrative burdens. The new CMS apps are intended to help both manufacturers and physicians track payment information more accurately by making tracking easier throughout the year.
While the apps offer a new resource to manufacturers and physicians, they may also raise data privacy and security concerns common to mobile health applications, particularly given the sensitivity of manufacturers and physicians to the information that may be entered into the apps. The apps are in version 1.1, and their privacy and security specifications may evolve with subsequent updates. CMS has also established an “Open Payments Challenge” with active contests related to developing an iPhone app and reporting web application that “will be used to track and compile ‘transfers of value’ (e.g. gift, meal, speaking fee)” from industry manufacturers to physicians.