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ACHA's Geek-in-Residence Recaps Datapalooza

Jun 12

Posted by: ACHA
6/12/2012 9:35 AM  RssIcon

By Ann Gianola
ACHA Research Manager

I’m a geek. A quantifiable geek. I’m a geek because I attended and ENJOYED attending the Health Data Initiative (HDI) Forum III: Health Datapalooza in Washington, D.C. last week. HDI began three years ago with 10 people in a conference room and this year’s event drew more than 1,600 business leaders, academics, information technology gurus, non-profit leaders and policy makers. Comprised of keynote speakers, demonstrations, and group discussions, Health Datapalooza was an energetic, extraordinary opportunity to learn from key innovators in health information technology to promote access to and sharing of health data to improve patient outcomes.

You’re probably still not convinced why someone would want to attend an event that focuses strictly on spreadsheets, maps and computers for two days straight. But where else can you hear Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S., speak about “uber awesome” data sharing and kung fu app makers? Or learn about using Twitter to create maps based on social connections of health statuses of individual communities? Jon Bon Jovi announced the winner of his Project REACH Mobile App Challenge and Dominique Dawes, Olympic gold medalist, presented the “Best of Apps” awards. And this was just the first morning session!

New app challenges were announced and apps for both communities and the consumer were demonstrated by teams of healthcare providers, computer gurus, and technology innovators from the around the country. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) launched a challenge called My Air, My Health for innovators to design an app that examines an individual’s characteristics (heart rate, breathing) at the time of interaction with environmental pollutants. A team from New York demonstrated a new web and mobile app called ScanAvert that scans medication and food bar codes to prevent unsafe interactions. It also provides alternative foods or medications to take based on your personal profile. A San Francisco based team, Castlight Health, introduced a webpage that allows you to comparison shop in real time for healthcare based on your current plan. Click here for a short video called "45 Seconds to Share" that inspired them to create the web-based tool.

Geeky as it may have been, Health Datapalooza brought together highly-motivated, excited, and extremely intelligent people to discuss the future of health information exchange. I can’t wait for next year!

Ann Gianola is ACHA’s Research Manager. When she’s not managing the REACH project, the ACHD program directory, or working on the ACHD program accreditation plan, she’s leading guided running tours of Philadelphia. Or analyzing survey data. She likes doing both.

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