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U.S. CTO Todd Park Photo: Institute of Medicine

U.S. CTO Todd Park Photo: Institute of Medicine

Health data is starting to get out of control. Fortunately, says Federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, that’s a good thing, especially with the number of new companies taking to the data and entering government challenges.

“What’s interesting about this group of companies that applied is that they were founded just in 2011 and 2012. This is the latest proof that this ecosystem of applications based on health data is out of control,” Park said.

Park kicked off the 3rd Annual Health Datapalooza on Tuesday morning at the Washington Convention Center with a 20-minute keynote outlining the path of big data in government – going back to the 1990s and the release of weather information – to where the movement stands today.

The event featured more than 1,200 attendees, and The Health Data Initiative Forum III is showcasing more than 100 new or updated solutions, up from 45 last year, that help serve the needs of consumers, health care providers, employers, public health leaders and policy makers.

“The innovators present today are a great example of how data and technology can be used in powerful ways to help consumers and providers improve health,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We’re not just creating new technology, but we’re empowering Americans to make better decisions about health and health care by putting information at their fingertips.”

Other highlights:

  • Data found in the Healthcare.gov Insurance Options Finder is now available through an API, enabling it to be machine readable and downloaded by third party developers. The Insurance Options Finder allows users to compare different plans, showing important information, such as the percentage of people who applied for coverage and were denied. HealthCare.gov collects and displays public options, private insurance plans for individuals and families as well as the small group markets.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched an initiative to transform the agency’s approach to data and analytics. The initiative will help guide the agency’s evolution from a fee-for-service based payer to a “value-based purchaser of care” that links payments to quality and efficiency of care, rather than sheer volume of services.
  • The Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT has led national competitions toward the creation of easy-to-use, web-based tools that help patients schedule follow-up appointments after being discharged from a hospital stay. In collaboration with the Partnership for Patients, the “Discharge Follow-Up Appointment Challenge” winners were announced: First place: MyHealthDIRECT, a web-based solution that enables patients and caregivers to search for, book and confirm appointments and includes reminder and transportation reservation functionality. Second place: HePak, a tool that integrates appointment-making and reminder functions into its hospital, provider, and patient portals.Third place: mHealthCoach, a tool that provides calendar syncing and incorporates educational content and HHS data feeds.