2012 Health Datapalooza: Open health data is no longer a government initiative, it's an American initiative

Dylan Scott | Governing Newsletter | June 6, 2012

One hundred applications and websites, all powered by open data, took center stage at the [Health Datapalooza]. In their honor, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park announced a revamped HealthData.gov during his opening keynote address Tuesday. “More and more innovation is happening with more and more data being made available,” Park said. “Health data is no longer a government initiative. It is an American initiative.”

Public health is playing a primary role in the health open data movement. The Healthy Communities Institute won first place in the event's Community category (the others were Consumer and Care) for its Healthy Communities Network. The network, designed for local health departments and community organizations, is already in use in 35 states. The platform allows users to access various dashboards centered on different health indicators (such as obesity) and pulls available data to outline a community’s current situation. Links are also provided to federal, state and local resources related to the selected issue.

These efforts aren’t limited to the applications showcased at the Health Datapalooza’s expo this week: New York City, for example, has gained nationwide attention for its open data initiative. The city recently released a template for offering local health departments' restaurant inspection records in an open data format.