Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Health Data Initiative Forum 2012

The Health Data Initiative (HDI), originally launched by the IOM and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the Community Health Data Initiative, is a public-private collaboration that encourages innovators to utilize health data to develop applications to raise awareness of health and health system performance and spark community action to improve health.

In March 2010, the IOM and HHS hosted a small gathering of leaders from the White House, federal agencies, academia, social sectors, public health communities, information technology firms, major businesses, and health care delivery systems to catalyze the formation of a new Community Health Data Initiative, and to plan for a June 2010 launch.

On June 2, 2010, the IOM and HHS held The Community Health Data Forum: Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Health. The purpose of this public Forum was to further ongoing efforts of innovators using community-level health data to empower individuals and communities to make informed choices about their health.

As the types of available health data expanded beyond community data to include data on coverage, access, cost, quality, products and recalls, benefits, and more, the Community Health Data Initiative was rebranded as the Health Data Initiative.

In June 2011, the Health Data Initiative Forum expanded to include more than 50 applications that used data from HHS and other data suppliers. Community leaders, consumers, employers, providers, and others showcased ways that data could be used to spur health assessment, planning, and action.

The Health Data Initiative Forum III: The Health Datapalooza (Health Data Palooza) was held June 5 and 6, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The event brought together a diverse group of data experts, technology developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, health care system leaders, and community advocates to support innovative application of health and health care data. The videos from the event are below. The Health Data Palooza featured more than 100 new or updated solutions, up from 45 solutions at last years event, that help serve the needs of consumers, health care providers, employers, public health leaders, and policy makers.

"The innovators present today are a great example of how data and technology can be used in powerful ways to help consumers and providers improve health," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "We're not just creating new technology, but we're empowering Americans to make better decisions about health and health care by putting information at their fingertips."

Watch live streaming video from thehealthdatapalooza at

Watch live streaming video from thehealthdatapalooza at

The following announcments were made at Health Data Palooza:

Data found in the Insurance Options Finder is now available through an application programming interface (API), enabling the data to be machine readable and downloaded by third party developers. The Insurance Options Finder allows users to compare different plans, showing important information, such as the percentage of people who applied for coverage and were denied. collects and displays public options, private insurance plans for individuals and families as well as the small group markets.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched an initiative to transform the agency's approach to data and analytics. The initiative will help guide the agency's evolution from a fee-for-service based payer to a "value-based purchaser of care" that links payments to quality and efficiency of care, rather than sheer volume of services. To lead the initiative, CMS created a new Office of Information Products and Data Analysis, which will strive to make development, management, use, and dissemination of data and information resources a core function of CMS. This effort also enhances data analytics and management strategies that are being widely promoted through programs by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The announcement builds upon many of the recent advances in data transparency and accessibility achieved by CMS in the past 12 months.

Over time, the initiative will modernize CMS' intricate data systems and policies, and help the agency to achieve the greatest improvements in health care delivery. Data and information resources available under CMS' initiative include:

  • Medicare Geographic Variation Trend Data: A unique data set that leverages nearly 5 billion Medicare claims in an easy-to-use data format that provides key metrics at the state and hospital referral region levels.
  • Medicare Enrollment Dashboard: An online dashboard that provides a single location with comprehensive statistics on Medicare enrollment (Parts A, B, and D and Medicare Advantage).
  • Medicare & Medicaid Research Review: A peer-reviewed online journal on current and future directions of the Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance.
  • CMS Data Navigator: A web-based search tool that rapidly connects researchers, policy makers, and the general public to the CMS data resources they need.

The Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has led national competitions toward the creation of easy-to-use, web-based tools that help patients schedule follow-up appointments after being discharged from a hospital stay. In collaboration with the Partnership for Patients, the "Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge" winners were announced:

  1. First place: MyHealthDIRECT, a web-based solution that enables patients and caregivers to search for, book, and confirm appointments and includes reminder and transportation reservation functionality.
  2. Second place: HePak, a tool that integrates appointment-making and reminder functions into its hospital, provider, and patient portals.
  3. Third place: mHealthCoach, a tool that provides calendar syncing and incorporates educational content and HHS data feeds.

Also announced was the Blue Button Mash-Up Challenge (submission period ends Sept. 5, 2012). In conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator announced the Challenge that builds on the VA's existing Blue Button feature to allow patients to download their health information and share it with health care providers, caregivers and others. The challenge requires the development of a tool that will help individuals to use their health information, combined with other types of information, such as cost data or comparative health data, to better understand their own health status and make more informed decisions regarding their health care.

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