Open Data as part of your Healthcare Analytics Strategy

Posted by Christian Franklin

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3/27/12 7:53 PM

If you have had any interaction with the consultants at TamGroup, you probably noticed that we have a passion for data, and more specifically: how to harness data and package it as a service to make it more readily consumable as information, which can be incorporated into process and work streams.

Aside from the work using traditional technologies and techniques that have developed around data stewardship, governance and presentation - a good amount of our time is dedicated to figuring out how to deal with what is more frequently being referred to as extreme information management (credit: Merv Adrian - @merv). And of course there is this 'big data' thing...

Since we are dug in deep in industries that by definition are notoriously data hungry (healthcare, life sciences, telecoms, energy and most recently, utilities), we are constantly looking for ways to mashup or enrich data to improve meaning and context - the semantic web, open-data community project and government agencies world-wide are often overlooked sources for enriching data; the caveat is that it is not uncommon for an agency or government to throw various datasets into the open with the hope that they become useful. That said, there are also some shining examples.

One of the more important open government initiatives is the Health Data Initiative. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has done a great job of reaching out to developers and we are starting to seem some great healthcare applications.  The objective was to make data from the vaults of HHS, and other sources available in electronic, machine-readable, downloadable, easily accessible form and promote its availability to entrepreneurs and innovators. If you have access to, or participate in meetups, challenges, and code-athons you can see this in action - talented individuals and groups are turning this data it into all kinds of applications and services that can help improve healthcare, drive innovation and create jobs at the same time.

Some of the machine-readable data resources available from HHS include health care provider quality information, health and human service provider directories, community health performance statistics, the latest and greatest medical knowledge from the National Library of Medicine, Medicare claims data in a variety of forms. The list goes on.

Each year, the initiative hosts a conference - 'Health Datapalooza' in June to feature the latest and best open health data applications. The deadline for applications for this year's event is March 30. There's more information here.

Topics: Analytics, Healthcare