The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this spring released for public use huge batches of Medicare hospital inpatient and outpatient cost data to help consumers better compare hospital prices. Now comes a new effort to make the data more usable.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is sponsoring a $120,000 challenge to software developers to improve consumer understanding and use of all that data that shows a wide range of prices across more than 3,000 hospitals for 100 common inpatient procedures.

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