Open Payments Data
increase in pageviews
The Open Payments Data website needed to be more user-friendly and transparent to the American public.
The massive amount of data that needed to be included on the site proved challenging.
Drupal, Acquia Cloud Platform
The Open Payments’ Summary by State page experienced a significant increase in use. There was a 63% increase in pageviews relative to the year prior, with 2,500 daily visitors and approximately 7,600 daily pageviews.
Open Payments is a national transparency program that collects and publishes information about financial relationships between drug and medical device companies and certain healthcare providers. These relationships may involve payments to providers for things including but not limited to research, meals, travel, gifts, or speaking fees.
One of the ways that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides data to the public is through this search tool, which allows the public to search for covered recipients receiving payments, as well as reporting entities that have made payments. Full datasets are available for download on the Open Payments Dataset Download page.
The program aims to provide the public with a more transparent healthcare system. As such, the Open Payments site needed to be more user-friendly and accessible.
The amount of data involved in the project was massive, making refreshing the data on the Open Payments site complicated and challenging. The site needed front-end modifications to accommodate the new data. Additionally, the site would need to import the new datasets five times, equaling more than 65 datasets — with many containing more than 10 million rows.
Open Payments partnered with CivicActions to spearhead the project, and the teams took a twofold approach. First, CivicActions created an interactive map that enabled users to compare the mean, median, total amount, and number of payments made in each state. This task was daunting, as many maps are not accessible by default. However, the team consulted with accessibility experts and delivered a fully accessible map that all users could employ.
In addition, the team also developed a unique “Compare States” feature to the Payments by State map. Before this feature was added, users could only view all states at once or drill down into an individual state. There was no easy way to compare one to five states simultaneously without downloading a large data file.
Following the site updates in February 2023, the Open Payments’ Summary by State page experienced a significant increase in use. There was a 63% increase in pageviews relative to Q1 2022, with 2,500 daily visitors and approximately 7,600 daily pageviews. Both new features are considered major accomplishments for the site and represent a significant milestone in building a usable, transparent government site that provides easy-to-understand data to healthcare consumers.