@FKHealth Reporting Live From #HDPalooza

Digital health is a topic that brings together experts from often seemingly divergent groups: entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, journalists, academics, researchers and government leaders. These different perspectives shed light on the complexities and interconnectedness involved in the delivery of quality healthcare. At Health Datapalooza 2014, the premier national conference focused on unleashing the power of open health data, we experienced what happens when you get these people in the same room. Over the course of three days in Washington, D.C., attendees participated in workshops and challenges, listened to industry thought leaders as they discussed the transforming healthcare landscape, and observed entrepreneurs launching new apps.

Feinstein Kean Healthcare, strategic communications partner to Health Data Consortium, the host of Health Datapalooza, was onsite connecting reporters to the newsmakers, participating in spirited discussions with fellow healthcare innovators, and engaging with the community of stakeholders working to drive the adoption and use of open health data to improve care for patients. At this year’s event, the energy and excitement of the attendees and online through social media represent the quintessential example of what is possible when new ideas converge with pioneers in business, advocacy, science and technology to spark the next generation of progress.

We noted a few trends, particularly around the importance of communicating a clear message whether it relates to health data, a technology, or any disruptive innovation.

Not all healthcare data are created equal: This isn’t to say there is a hierarchy of better and worse information. Many types of information can make a difference in healthcare: social welfare services, healthcare records, price, payments, claims, personal health information, quantified-self data, EHR information, biometrics, glucose levels, etc. Adriana Lukas, a contributor to the Quantified Self, an international collaboration of users and makers of self-tracking tools, talked about these data, particularly those generated by patients and consumers and the opportunities and risks associated with tapping into the information.

Keep it simple: There is so much to say about healthcare. Whether explaining the symptoms associated with a particular condition or trying to unpack the algorithms that an app has designed to give order to a particular health-related dataset, there is a lot to say. The question: How do we say it clearly, make it memorable, and advance the cause? App demos at Health Datapalooza demonstrated the value of a clear message. CareSync, a platform that facilitates health information exchange and record storage, and Purple Binder, an application that makes information about social welfare services accessible, are two of the technologies that demonstrated the value of a simple and clear approach to sharing health data to empower healthcare professional, caregivers and patients.

Into the Wide Open: There is momentum from the private and public sector to make available to the public a variety of data to help improve quality and outcomes in healthcare. During the event, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its Open FDA initiative, which will make available a range of data including adverse events, product recalls, and product labeling. Showcasing how the public release of data can impact change, ProPublica received the second annual Health Data Liberators Award for its work on The Prescribers series, in which it examined the government’s drug data and reported on its findings, revealing the need for both oversight and overhaul of various programs.

The excitement and energy at Health Datapalooza was palpable. There was also an optimism about the transformation of the healthcare landscape. We share it and cannot wait until next year.

What were your takeaways from Health Datapalooza 2014?

Health Datapalooza 2014

Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of Health Data Consortium and Dr. Nirav Shah, last year’s recipient of the Health Data Liberators award and former New York state commissioner of health announce the winners of the 2014 Health Data Liberators Award, Charles Orenstein and ProPublica journalists responsible for ‘The Prescribers’.
Photo Credit: David Hathcox for Health Data Consortium