FAIRFAX, Va., April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), is supporting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC), which launched in November 2013. The VRDC is a remotely accessible analytics environment that provides researchers with electronic access to the most comprehensive, up-to-date Medicare data sets available. With this data, researchers can offer data-driven innovative recommendations on a broad range of Medicare initiatives such as preventing improper payments, measuring the quality of care delivered and comparing the effectiveness of various treatment approaches. Previously the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) prepared and shipped encrypted data files to fill each researcher's request. To improve healthcare quality and efficiency, the VRDC will help researchers access data in a timelier manner, at a lower cost, and will provide them with a variety of tools to analyze the data. It also provides greater security controls for data access restrictions and protection of privacy data. In the VRDC, sensitive information about individual beneficiaries never leaves the CMS data environment, and researchers access the data through a secure virtual desktop. The VRDC environment will accommodate up to 300 researchers. "CMS is the nation's largest health insurer, maintaining data for more than one billion Medicare claims per year," said Marcus Collier, senior vice president of General Dynamics Information Technology's Health and Civilian Solutions division. "We look forward to putting our experience developing highly advanced solutions for collecting, warehousing, managing, analyzing and reporting large volumes of healthcare data toward this innovative resource that provides researchers with greater data access, security and transparency." General Dynamics is providing information technology services in support of the VRDC including data analytics, infrastructure development and maintenance, and training and technical assistance. Work is being performed in Des Moines, Iowa; Owings Mills, Md.; and Warrenton, Va. General Dynamics has delivered a range of health IT support to CMS for more than 30 years, including for the Health Care Quality Improvement System, the Chronic Condition Data Warehouse, the Retiree Drug Subsidy program, the Drug Data Processing System and the Payment Reconciliation System. The company was also recently an awardee on the CMS Measure & Instrument Development and Support indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.