Reflections from Manor Govfresh: Voices of Open Government and Gov 2.0

If you’re looking for the faces of government 2.0, look no further. The video above, released today by Manor New Tech High‘s “Digital Dojo,” features more than a dozen voices (including this correspondent) talking about what Manor.Govfresh meant to them and what open government means to the country.

“I am very excited to be at Manor Govfresh because it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a conference that doesn’t just talk about change but actually does it,” said White House deputy CTO for open government Beth Noveck. “What’s exciting about Manor Govfresh is that it’s brought together so many people who are interested in municipal innovation and using technology to actually make a difference in local communities here in Manor, Texas, in Deleon, Texas, and across America, to actually make government work better.”

When you watch the video, of course, you’ll hear many more voices than Noveck’s, which is of course the point. The movement towards open government at the local level puts the growth of government 2.0 in context. As Stacy Viselli said this morning in a comment on Radar, “Communities and neighborhoods have been moving their organizations online for a while now and are looking for ways to do more. It creates an optimum environment for collaborative projects that include local governments, business, civic associations, nonprofits, and community foundations. Sometimes it’s not about the data so much as it is about providing a platform that empowers communities do what they are already doing–better.”

For more on how local governments are using technology to deliver smarter government, read about how Gov 2.0 is growing locally. And for more on Manor Govfresh, read about harnessing the civic surplus for open government.

Pattern Recognition and Spimewatch: Visions of Open Cities of the Future

If you had five minutes to talk about the future, what would you say?

Last month, I had the privilege of presenting at two Ignite sessions, Ignite NYC at the Web 2.0 Expo and Ignite D.C. later in the week. If you’re not familiar, Ignites are 5 minute-long talks where presenters share subject they’re passionate about, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. If you’re not used to that rhythm, it can be tricky.

The video of my talk at Ignite D.C. is embedded below:

The presentation and associated links is embedded below:

Curious about the title for my talks? As fellow science fiction fans know, the title for these Ignite talks is an homage to two author: William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling. Gibson, sometimes called the “noir prophet” of cyberpunk, coined the term cyberspace and wrote “Pattern Recognition,” an enjoyable yarn about the future-present. Sterling, also an notable cyberpunk author, maintains the excellent Wired blog “Beyond the Beyond,” which has an entire category called “Spimewatch.”

HHS CTO announces HealthData.gov, explains Blue Button and next steps for Health2Challenge

Have you met Todd Park? He’s the first CTO of Health and Human Services Department of the United States. Earlier this week, he announced the upcoming launch of HealthData.gov, a new website that will publish open government health data. If you’re unfamiliar with Park, I interviewed him at this year’s Gov 2.0 Expo:

Park and I talked about his open government work at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he’s been trying to make community health information as useful as weather data. We also spoke about the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge, a series of code-a-thons and team competitions to build apps based upon community health data. “Games are a non-trivial information dissemination approach” that can drive actionable behavior, said Park at HealthCamp, referring to many of the entries that use game mechanics to socialize the data. The developer challenge culminated this week during the fourth annual Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

The nation now can see more about what the tech community has come up since this spring, when the question of whether there’s a healthcare app for that was answered the first time. “Social value and economic value can go hand in hand,” he said to a health IT summit in San Francisco. Below, Park talks about the Veterans Administration’s new “Blue Button,” which provides access to downloadable personal health data.

In the video, Park outlines the agency’s plan to offer military veterans and Medicare recipients the ability to download their own health records using a digital “blue button” on MyMedicare.gov and MyHealthyVet. Fried reported on veterans getting downloadable health info at CNET.com. Park, VA CTO Peter Levin and federal CTO Aneesh Chopra blogged about the Blue Button at WhiteHouse.gov:

Veterans who log onto My HealtheVet at www.myhealth.va.gov and click the Blue Button can save or print information from their own health records. Using a similar Blue Button, Medicare beneficiaries who are registered users of www.mymedicare.gov can log onto a secure site where they can save or print their Medicare claims and self-entered personal information. Data from of each site can be used to create portable medical histories that will facilitate dialog with Veterans’ and beneficiaries’ health care providers, caregivers, and other trusted individuals or entities.

This new option will help Veterans and Medicare beneficiaries save their information on individual computers and portable storage devices or print that information in hard copy. Having ready access to personal health information from Medicare claims can help beneficiaries understand their medical history and partner more effectively with providers. With the advent of the Blue Button feature, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to view their claims and self-entered information—and be able to export that data onto their own computer. The information is downloaded as an “ASCII text file,” the easiest and simplest electronic text format. This file is also easy to read by the individual; it looks like an organized report.

More than 60,000 people have already downloaded their PHRs. As those technically savvy writers emphasize, however, this will create thousands of opportunities to have that sensitive data leak. They stressed the importance of using encryption and password protection to protect the records. For those watching the development of health IT, the future that the 3 CTOs hint about near the end of the post will be of particular interest:

Soon, Blue Button users may be able to augment the downloaded information that is housed on their computers—or that they transferred to a commercial personal health record or other health application—through automated connections to, and downloads from, major pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS; lab systems such as Quest and LabCorp; and an increasing number of inpatient and outpatient electronic medical records systems.

Keep an eye out for how that develops.

Below, Park kicks off the Healthcamp SF Bay event.

Here are his slides from the event:

Below, he summarizes his Healthcamp session.