• Ideas

I want supportWhen innovating and experimenting, there are lots of steps and possible pitfalls people are faced with.  If you are an individual member of the public or a company that is creating new applications, implementing new processes or are just working to make health care and government better, we want to help you.  Below you will find ways in which the HHS IDEA Lab is working to help people and companies innovate. Check out the information below, each tab has information on resources and guidance.

When developing new applications or technologies, especially in health care, you are often faced with government policies. Government policies can often times seem like a whole different language and when you couple that with health care jargon you are entering a whole new world. The HHS IDEA Lab believes that innovation shouldn’t be stifled by policy, so below are some resources for those looking for information on policies such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Food and Drug Administration’s mobile medical applications, and meaningful use.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA):

  • Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs;
  • Reduces health care fraud and abuse;
  • Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes; and
  • Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information

More information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can be found here.

Medicare Reimbursement: As health care transform and new products are developed to improve the health and health care experiences, companies developing these products will look at their business models and see Medicare reimbursement as an important component of sustainability and growth. Medicare reimbursement is determined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and information on Medicare reimbursement can be found here.

Food and Drug Administration Mobile Medical Applications Guidance:  Recognizing the growing demand and use of mobile applications to help people manage their own health and wellness promote healthy living and gain access to useful information when and where they need it, the FDA released guidance on how it will regulate mobile medical apps. Information on the mobile guidance and what kinds of apps are being regulated can be found here.

Meaningful Use: Electronic health records are a major piece of a digital health care world. Meaningful use is the set of standards defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Incentive Programs that governs the use of electronic health records and allows eligible health care providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria. More information on meaningful use can be found here.

Blue Button Plus:  As the continued use of personal health data continues to grow, the Blue Button Initiative at the Department of Health and Human Services will work to provide guidance to application develops and users starting with Blue Button Plus;  a blueprint for the structured and secured transmission of personal health data on behalf of an individual consumer. Information on how to use Blue Button data can be found here.

If you are looking for guidance on a specific policy, please contact the IDEA Lab for a consultation at idealab@hhs.gov. During a consultation, IDEA Lab staff will understand and navigation of policy landscape.

Data is one of the most powerful, yet underutilized assets at the Department of Health and Human Services.  It can be used to help power new technologies, to help doctors and policymakers make better decisions and is the foundation for a health care system of the future. Recognizing the importance and benefits of using data, the IDEA Lab is working to liberate, disseminate and educate the public on the data resources available through the Health Data Initiative. Department of Health and Human Services data can be found on HealthData.gov – the Department’s online data catalog.

If you need additional assistance in finding a data set you are looking for, need more information or context about a specific data set, or had questions about the quality or format of data online, email us at idealab@hhs.gov. From there we can talk with you about your needs and help you find the information you are looking for.

The Department of Health and Human Services is a large organization with a very diverse workforce, consisting of 90,000 employees, ten operating divisions and 16 staff division working on issues ranging from disease management, scientific research, health care reimbursement to product recalls and refugee resettlement. The diversity of the Department provides opportunities to for a variety of touch points on many topics.  If you or your company is looking to work, collaborate or connect with a specific government agency in the Department of Health and Human Services but not sure on how to find an entry point, the IDEA Lab is here to help.

We are here to help entrepreneurs, data scientists, developers and other innovators get connected to the right people in our organization – be it for policy guidance, pilot test bed, or collaboration on a project or event.  Email us at idealab@hhs.gov for more information.

Have you or your company developed a new product that is using health data or is a tool that can be used to change the way government or health care works and are looking for a place to pilot or test your product? The IDEA Lab can help. Recognizing that testing and feedback are a key piece of product development, the IDEA Lab can help you find a pilot environment to test your product. An example of this is if you have an application that integrates with an electronic health record in a hospital. The IDEA Lab would work to connect the product developer to the hospital system to create a new test environment. For more information on these opportunities please email us at idealab@hhs.gov.


A federal government Website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. - Washington, D.C. 20201