Sec. Kathleen Sebelius Speaks Out on Health Innovations

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius | Huffington Post | June 3, 2013

This week marks the fourth annual edition of what has come to be known as 'Datapalooza,' and the results have exceeded our wildest expectations. What started as a small brainstorming session has grown into an event that brings together nearly 2,000 tech developers, health care professionals, researchers, policy makers, and business executives. Apps and software showcased at Datapalooza are now being used to do everything from creating customized hospital discharge plans that help reduce readmissions to helping consumers research surgical procedures.

These innovations promise to transform aspects of the health care experience where progress has stagnated for decades. Think about showing up at a doctor's office and filling out forms on a clipboard in a waiting room. Huge swaths of the American health care system have long felt frozen in time.

As the incredible new products on display this week at Datapalooza demonstrate, the problem wasn't a lack of new ideas. The problem instead was obstacles--for example, inaccessible data--that prevented those ideas from being put into action. But what Datapalooza is showing is that smart policy can be instrumental in removing these obstacles to innovation. And we're now seeing the same pattern play out across the health care system.

Take electronic health records...