For more context, read: about unlocking innovation through opening health data, better mobile healthcare decisions through open data and “Can Todd Park revolutionize the health care industry?”
If you’re a regular reader of Govfresh or the O’Reilly Radar, you know how the chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Todd Park ,is focused on unleashing the power of open data to improve health. If you aren’t familiar with this story, go read Simon Owen’s excellent feature article that explores his work on revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Part of unlocking innovation through open health data has been a relentless promotion and evangelization of the data that HHS has to venture capitalists, the healthcare industry and developers. It was in that context that Park visited New York’s Hacks and Hackers meetup today. The video of the meeting is embedded below, including a lengthy question and answer period at the end.
NYC Hacks and Hackers co-organizer Chrys Wu was kind enough to ask my questions, posed over Twitter. Here were the answers I pulled out from the video above:
How much data has been released? Park: “A ton.” He pointed to HealthData.gov as a scorecard and said that HHS isn’t just releasing brand new data. They’re “also making existing data truly accessible or usable,” he said. They’re taking “stuff that’s in a book or website and turning it into machine readable data or an API.”
What formats? Park: Lots and lots of different formats. “Some people put spreadsheets online, other people actually create open APIs and open services,” he said. “We’re trying to migrate people as much towards open API as possible.”
Impact to date? “The best quantification that I can articulate is the Health data-palooza,” he said. “50 companies and nonprofits updated and deployed new versions of their platforms and services. The data already helping millions of Americans in all kinds of ways.”
Park emphasized that it’s still quite early for the project, at only 18 months into this. He also emphasized that the work isn’t just about data: it’s about how and where it’s used. “Data by itself isn’t useful. You don’t go and download data and slather data on yourself and get healed,” he said. “Data is useful when it’s integrated with other stuff that does useful jobs for doctors, patients and consumers.”
What if open health data were to be harnessed to spur better healthcare decisions and catalyze the extension or creation of new businesses? That potential future exists now, in the present.
Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Heath and Human Services, has been working to unlock innovation through open health data for over a year now. On many levels, the effort is the best story in federal open data. In the video below, he talks with my publisher, Tim O’Reilly, about collaboration and innovation in the healthcare system.
The next big event in this space on June 9 at the NIH. If you’re interested in what’s next for open health data, track this event closely.
[Hat tip: PharmFresh]
What if open health data were to be harnessed to spur better healthcare decisions and catalyze the extension or creation of new businesses? That potential future exists now, in the present. Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Heath and Human Services, has been working to unlock innovation through open health data for over a year now. On many levels, the effort is the best story in federal open data. Park tells it himself in the video below, recorded yesterday at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.
Over at e-patients.net, Pew Internet researcher Susannah Fox asked how community organizations can tap into the health data and development trend that Park has been working hard to ignite. She shared several resources (including a few from this correspondent) and highlighted the teams who competed in a health developer challenge tour that culminated at the recent Health 2.0 conference.
Check out this article about HealthData.gov including footage of Park talking about the “health data eco-system” at the code-a-thon (and actually, the video also features local health hacker Alan Viars sitting there at the right).
Here are 3 blog posts about last year’s event, including mine:
Community Health Data Initiative: vast amounts of health data, freed for innovators to mash up!
Making community health information as useful as weather data: Open health data from Health and Human Services is driving more than 20 new apps.
The next big event in this space on June 9 at the NIH. If you’re interested in what’s next for open health data, track this event closely.
Last October, Todd Park, the chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) announced HealthData.gov at the HealthCamp in San Francisco. Today, Health.Data.gov went live. When the domain name propagates properly through the Internet, HealthData.gov will send online users directly to the new community at Data.gov.
Park blogged about HealthData.gov and the open health data initiative on Data.gov this morning.
“HealthData.gov is a one-stop resource for the growing ecosystem of innovators who are turning data into new applications, services, and insights that can help improve health,” he wrote.
New apps like iTriage have the potential to turn open health data to better decisions and build new businesses. Speaking at the State Department’s open source conference last week, Park said that tens of thousands of citizens have now used the health data in iTriage to find community health centers.
Park has been working to make community health information as useful as weather data through the release of open health data from HSS. Today, 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 told a health IT summit in San Francisco.
Below, Park speaks more about what open health data could mean at last weekend’s health 2.0 code-a-thon in Washington, DC.
What is the federal chief technology officer up to out in Silicon Valley? From afar, however, it’s looks like federal CTO Aneesh Chopra is stirring up awareness about open government and entrepreneurship in the venture capital community in California. He’s also traveling with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) CTO Todd Park to add his compatriot’s considerable enthusiasm for innovation in healthcare information technology (HIT). Chopra’s slides follow:
Following is a quick rundown of the websites and initiatives Chopra referenced in the presentation:
- The White House Open Government Initiative
- A Presidential commitment to double available spectrum
- NASA Nebula and Eucalyptus
- Tech focused on healthier kids: Appsforhealthykids.com, healthgameschallenge.org and MyFood-a-Pedia
- Open government at the VA and www.mymedicare.gov
- The Healthcare 2.0 Developer Challenge
- The vai2 Challenge and Challenge.gov
- Standards to support the “secure and meaningful exchange of health information, at NHINDirect.org
- Private-partnership between the GovPulse.us entrepreneurs and the government in building the new FederalRegister.gov
For a classic dispatch written by a great tech journalist, Wade Roush, make sure to read his interview with Aneesh Chopra on entrepreneurship, health IT, open government and “data as a policy lever.”
During the event, I picked up some tweets coming out of a “D.C.-to-Silicon Valley” event and curated them using the Storify tool. It proved to be a bit unstable – apps in beta are fun! – but you’ll find a “living version” of the story embedded in the post below.
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.
Can social media, open government and an API lead to a better pill identification system? What about a collaborative effort between Big Pharma and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that could result in pictures of medications on labels for the first time?
As David Hale’s interview in my most recent article at Mashable showed, the power of social media, open data and innovation led to a better healthcare platform at the National Library of Medicine:
Every year, poison control centers get more than one million calls for pill identification. Each one of those calls costs nearly $50. Social software is helping biomedical researchers collaborate on better ways of identifying drugs. “Pillbox is a digital platform for communities to solve challenges related to pharmaceutical identification and reference,” says David Hale, the program manager. The National Library of Medicine’s mission is to gather, curate and distribute the world’s biomedical information, said Hale.
Pillbox is an open government initiative from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration that could transform how pharmaceuticals are labeled in the future. The interactive web application currently allows visitors to rapidly identify unknown solid medications, like tablets or capsules, based upon their shape, color and other markings. Pillbox remains a research and development project, so users should not be making clinical decisions just yet. Right now there are over 1,000 images of prescription drugs in the system, with many more to come in the next few months.
In the video below, Hale demonstrates the platform:
Hale will share more about new updates to Pillbox and how the healthcare community and developers partnering to restructure federal drug label data at the Gov 2.0 Summit next week in Washington on September 8th.
His last presentation, “Open Gov Ninja 101,” is embedded below:
A discussion of healthcare IT standards, with moderation from Brian Behlendorf. More information at healthIT.hhs.gov