Apps & oranges: Tool tracks meals, payments to doctors

Worried about keeping track of gifts large and small under the Sunshine rule that kicks in Aug. 1? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) now offers an app, one for physicians and one for industry, to help tally the score.

Sunshine, or the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments, is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is designed to  lend transparency to financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and healthcare providers by requiring industry to inform CMS of payments “or other transfers of value” made to physicians and teaching hospitals.

Under the rule, data collection begins Aug. 1. Manufacturers and group purchasing organizations have until March 31, 2014, to report data from August through the end of 2013 to CMS. CMS will make the data publicly available online on Sept. 30, 2014.

To assist physicians and manufacturers, CMS announced that it has released two free mobile apps to track and review payments. Participation is voluntary and is for personal use only, according to CMS. The apps cannot be used to directly report  data to CMS. They can be downloaded  at the Google Play or iOS Apple app stores under “OPEN PAYMENTS."

More information is available here.