Community Health Data Initiative
Institute of Medicine
June 2, 2010/9:05 am
Thank you, Secretary Sebelius. And thanks to everyone for making the time to be here with us today.
On March 11, the Institute of Medicine and HHS sponsored an exploratory meeting here in Washington to find out if the world outside government was interested in the data we had on community health. If we made data available, would innovators be interested in developing creative new uses for it that could improve the nation’s health?
The answer was a resounding yes, so we went to work.
Innovators from the worlds of business, technology, academia, and community advocacy identified some 20 areas where exciting new applications to improve health could be developed. Our department built an interim website and posted a consolidated set of HHS community health data in easily accessible, downloadable form.
Innovators then took our data and – in less than 12 weeks – put together an amazing array of new or improved applications that will help raise awareness about health performance, in local communities and motivate people to take action to improve it.
There are some really creative developers here today who are already working on important projects like interactive health maps so people can compare their county’s health performance with other counties and video games to engage kids of all ages in community health.
You’re going to see some of them today. For example:
There’s “Network of Care for Healthy Communities” – a community health dashboard that’s been put together by a team of innovators working with The National Association of Counties. Deployed via a public website, the dashboard allows citizens and civic leaders to see local health performance compared to other counties, and automatically ties in “best practice” information from around the nation showing how other communities have tackled similar issues and generated positive change.
There’s a health data online card game called “Community Clash.” Players compare health indicators in their communities with opponents on Facebook and Twitter. They can also compute their own “well-being” score.
There’s “Asthmapolis,” an on-line community asthma tracking system. Patients and providers will be able to monitor inhaler use through anonymous logs that, when shared with public health agencies, will systematically identify collective asthma triggers, and evaluate how successfully we’re able to control them.
I’ve picked out just three examples of you’ll be seeing today, and what you’ll be seeing today is only the beginning.
This December, HHS will launch a new web-based Health Indicators Warehouse – a single website, available to the public, containing an array of information on national, state, regional, and county-level health performance, along with an inventory of ways we know can improve performance.
Users will be able to download all of this data free of charge, and easily integrate it into other websites and applications.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), one of HHS’s biggest operating divisions, have committed to supply the HHS Health Indicators Warehouse with a brand new set of national, state, regional, and potentially county-level data on disease prevalence, cost, quality, and utilization of services.
We’ll hear more about our data plans a little later from Todd Park, our Chief Technology Officer.
One thing I should mention—HHS is not controlling or choreographing or paying for the development of these applications. Our role is simply to supply high-quality, free community health data and then let the innovators take over from there.
At the forum today, we not only want you to see what’s possible, we also want you to consider how you can help jump-start applications to help communities, citizens, providers, employers, and others improve health quality and value across the country.
The approach of the Community Health Data Initiative is really quite simple: to help Americans understand health performance in their communities and to help spark local action to improve it. But the potential of this simple approach to improve health across America is enormous. We’re deeply committed to its success.
The Secretary and I are very glad to be here in the company of so many creative forward-looking people from so many sectors, who have so much potential to improve the nation’s health.
So I hope you’ll take the Secretary up on her challenge. You’re going to take back new ideas from these sessions, you’ll also share them with each other, and I’m looking forward to today being as productive for the American people as it will be for us.
Thank you again for coming.