Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched the Community Health Data Initiative on June 2 at an IOM Forum in Washington, D.C. The initiative represents the hard work of many people, especially HHS CTO Todd Park.
The idea is simple - make de-identified HHS data sets available free of charge and encourage developers/researchers/public health agencies to create innovative applications which share the data in novel ways on the web, your mobile phone, and via the iPhone app store. Clinicians, patients, and payers will all be informed and empowered by this new data liquidity.
What is the plan?
"We will be providing to the public, free of charge and without any intellectual property constraint, a Community Health Data Set harvested from across HHS � a wealth of easily accessible, standardized, structured, downloadable data on health care, health, and determinants of health performance at the national, state, regional, and county levels, as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income (where available). This data set will consist of hundreds (ultimately, thousands) of measures of health care quality, cost, access and public health (e.g., obesity rates, smoking rates, etc.), including data produced for the Community Health Status Indicators, County Health Rankings, and State of the USA programs."
For an example of the data sets available see the CDC's website.
For an overview of the launch including sample applications see this You Tube Video.
Per my earlier blog post, The Healthy Communities Institute has demonstrated the power of publicly available data to inform policymaking in cities and counties.
I look forward to the new products and positive impacts on quality, efficiency and safety catalyzed by the Community Health Data Initiative. Definitely worth watching over the next few months.