In March this year, the Institute of Medicine and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened health care experts, technology developers, Web 2.0 visionaries, and others to explore what could be done with HHS’s community health data. The resulting campaign is called the Community Health Data Initiative. The idea was to explore creative ways that data could be used to raise awareness of community health performance and help consumers and civic leaders understand how best to improve health.
In the three months since, more than a dozen applications using HH's community health data have been developed. They are being introduced today in a public forum. The Community Health Data Forum will be discussing ongoing efforts of innovators using community-level health data to empower communities to make informed choices about their health.
Steve Downs of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explains the significance of today's event:
"It’s an interesting headline when you step back and think about it. HHS is making a major announcement – not about a new research breakthrough, a new vaccine, a new Medicare benefit or even a new grant opportunity. It’s about **drumroll** … **drumroll** ... data! Seriously. The bet here is that the thousands (and I do mean thousands) of data sets that HHS maintains could actually support some useful applications – applications we can’t even imagine yet – in the same vein that the weather data produced by the National Weather Service generates so many services and businesses. To some extent, these data have been available before, but they’ve been hard to get to. The difference here is that HHS is planning to make access to the data easy and beyond that, make them available in ways that most lend themselves to application development. It’s a conscious strategy to enable others to add value to these government data."
Video from the forum will be posted here, and will we keep the blog updated with information about the new applications.