Health Data Consortium head spotlights startups making use of open health data

The executive director of the Health Data Consortium highlighted some of the companies he thinks are overcoming some of the barriers to making health data more widely available and useful for clinicians and patients. It was part of a keynote Chris Boone gave at the MidAmerica Healthcare Venture Forum in Chicago this week. Open health […]

The executive director of the Health Data Consortium highlighted some of the companies he thinks are overcoming some of the barriers to making health data more widely available and useful for clinicians and patients. It was part of a keynote Chris Boone gave at the MidAmerica Healthcare Venture Forum in Chicago this week.

Open health data was a common theme with the two companies he highlighted in the talk. Although it tends to be associated with data from government sources such as CMS, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the FDA’s initiative, it can also come from other sources such as Apple HealthKit through its Apple ResearchKit initiative.

RowdMap uses open health data to track a provider’s spending and how they compare with competitors against certain quality measures.  It created a web-based platform that uses pre-loaded open health data. It lets providers view their own data, competitors’ data and how they compare with national benchmarks. Boone views what RowdMap is doing as particularly useful for accountable care organizations to give them a better understanding of how they are performing in different markets. In the past 18 months it has grown from three to 20 people.

Purple Binder is a Chicago-based company using open health data sets to help connect patients to social services in their communities. Those services can include food banks, substance abuse programs, home health aides, grocery stores and local parks. He described it as one of the first social service programs built on open source data.

Following his talk, Boone was asked to define his terms — what did he mean when he talks about health data and health information? He noted that by health data, he meant the raw data that’s collected from patients and entered into electronic medical records as well as self-generated patient data from fitness trackers and apps. By information, he refers to data that’s converted to inform clinical decisions. As an example of how organizations are using this information, Boone cited Nancy Brown’s work as CEO of the American Heart Association using that kind of information to develop best practice clinical guidelines.