Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Health: IOM & HHS Community Health Data Initiative Event

Today the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cosponsored an event to promote awareness of the freely available public health data from the government and collaborations for using this to promote community and personal health decisionmaking. Harvey Fineberg, President of the IOM, started things, “No matter what you care about in health … any dimension you care to tackle, you depend on information,” continuing with the following information mantra that sounds similar in principle if not in expression to Thomas Jefferson’s logic in founding the public library system.

Information should be:
* relevant
* available
* usable
* accessible

“I think by far the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness.” Jefferson, Diffusion of Knowledge.

Today’s event went on to provide a rich set of illustrations of ways in which health information can be used to create tools and resources to promote healthy choices and behaviors for individuals, increase awareness of health information, and support effective health decision making and planning at the community level. Here is a very superficial overview of the resources from the event for those who wish to know more.


Open Government at HHS: http://www.hhs.gov/open/

HHS: Open Government Plan (April 7, 2010): http://www.hhs.gov/open/plan/opengovernmentplan/ourplan_openhhs.pdf

Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Health (Model): http://www.hhs.gov/open/discussion/hhsframeworks.html

Health 2.0: Developer Challenge: http://health2challenge.org/

Archived event video: http://www.hhs.gov/open/datasets/initiative_launch.html
YouTube: Event: Community Health Data Initiative Launched (06/02/2010): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN8vU-UiElw


AnalyzeThe.Us (Palantir): https://analyzethe.us/
NOTES: Data visualization tool requires downloaded software and lots of RAM, as well as a tutorial and time to learn to use. Powerful, not simple.

Asthmapolis: http://asthmapolis.com/ with SpiroScout: http://asthmapolis.com/spiroscout-diary.php
NOTES: Tracking asthma indicators with GPS device linked to inhaler use. Provides personal and community tracking information.

Bing Health Maps (blogpost): http://www.bing.com/community/blogs/maps/archive/2010/06/02/new-bing-map-app-bing-health-maps.aspx
NOTES: Go to Bing maps, look for apps, and find a Health App category. , but only if you have Silverlight installed. In my experience, I tried to install Silverlight and the software said it was not compatible with Google Chrome, my preferred browser. A Bing representative on Twitter said it does work. but I’ve tried at least five times now without success and have heard others had similar problems. Limited accessibility at this point. More useful was the integration of hospital comparison information into search results.

Community Clash: http://www.meyouhealth.com/clash/
NOTES: Online card game comparing communities on different health and wellness indicators. What do you know about your community’s health?

Google Fusion Table: Hospital Finder: http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?dsrcid=183101
NOTES: Watch the video. Roni Zeiger demonstrated finding a dataset, uploading it into Google Fusion Tables and then manipulating it to find answers to various questions.

Network of Care for Healthy Communities: Sonoma County, California: http://hcn.sonoma.networkofcare.org/
NOTES: A model of using HHS data to populate a community health indicators and decision support site.


Community Health Map (PDF article): http://hcil.cs.umd.edu/trs/2010-04/2010-04.pdf

Community Wellness App (Healthways): no url available

County Health Rankings: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

CountySinRankings: http://countysinrankings.org/
NOTE: Brilliant & genuinely useful “parody” of the one above.

Find Youth Info: http://www.findyouthinfo.gov/

HealthLandscape: http://www.healthlandscape.org/

Healthymagination: http://www.healthymagination.com/projects/data-visualizations

iTriage: http://www.itriagehealth.com/

MedWatcher: http://www.healthmap.org/medwatcher/

Pillbox: http://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/

Quick Health Data Online: http://www.healthstatus2010.com/owh/index.html

Reach for the Top (Ingenix, press release only): http://www.ingenix.com/News/Article/158/

SCVNGR: http://www.scvngr.com/

Semantic Community: HealthIT Gov 2.0: http://healthitgov.wik.is/

Together We Breathe: http://togetherwebreathe.org/

US Hospital Finder: http://www.ushospitalfinder.com/


Eat This Not That: 20 Worst Drinks in America 2010: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slide/worst-beer-0?slideshow=184612#title

Flowing Data: Junk food equivalents of sugary drinks: http://flowingdata.com/2010/05/28/junk-food-equivalents-of-sugary-drinks/

Health data for storytelling
New insights arise from creative & innovative data exploration
Rapid prototyping and implementation without RFPs!


Alex Howard: Making community health information as useful as weather data: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/06/unlocking-innovation-through-d.html

Anil Dash: The Health Graph: http://dashes.com/anil/2010/06/the-health-graph.html

Bing: Maps: HealthApps: http://www.maps.bing.com.au/twitter/search?q=%23healthapps&FORM=DTPTWO

Chris Connelly: Live Blog: Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Health Forum: http://www.vancomm.com/insites/2010/06/live-blog-department-of-health-and-human-services-community-health-forum/

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Pioneering Ideas: Introducing … Data! http://rwjfblogs.typepad.com/pioneer/2010/05/introducing-data.html

Susannah Fox: Making Health Data Sing (Even If It’s A Familiar Song): http://e-patients.net/archives/2010/06/making-health-data-sing-even-if-its-a-familiar-song.html

Twazzup: http://www.twazzup.com/?q=%23healthapps&l=all


Clive Thompson on Why We Should Learn the Language of Data: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/st_thompson_statistics/

Regina Holliday’s Medical Advocacy Blog: Data Cloud: http://reginaholliday.blogspot.com/2010/05/data-cloud.html

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